AAFP Awarded $1 Million to Help Family Medicine Practices Enhance Care for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease

Monday, December 06, 2010

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6052

Leawood, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians has received a $1 million grant to help support a unique new performance improvement (PI) continuing medical education (CME) program that will help family physicians enhance the comprehensive care they provide to patients with cardiovascular disease.

With cardiovascular disease (CVD) being the leading cause of death in the United States, it’s critical to provide family physicians — who are the largest primary care specialty — with high-quality CME, effective tools and the most up-to-date, evidence-based education pertaining to CVD.

The AAFP’s new performance improvement (PI) CME initiative, “Healthy Communities Collaborative™,” (HCC) is a layered learning curriculum modeled after the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series Collaborative. It builds on the AAFP’s years of experience in helping family medicine teams improve patient care by focusing on redesigning their practices to better meet the needs of patients. The longitudinal program will integrate the Academy’s flagship PI CME offerings into one comprehensive program that aims to improve the care CVD patients receive. Enhanced care can ultimately lead to improved health status and a better quality of life for patients.

Recognizing the AAFP’s leadership and success in providing top-quality, accredited CME to physicians, the GlaxoSmithKline Center for Medical Education awarded the AAFP $1,004,106 for its new initiative. The AAFP is one of only 4 organizations that received a grant from GSK during its most recent grant-making cycle.

“We recognize GSK's leadership in supporting independent medical education that measurably improves practice performance and patient care, and we are grateful for their financial support of our new ‘Healthy Communities Collaborative™’ program,” said Douglas Henley, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO of the AAFP. “Cardiovascular disease affects millions of our patients. With this support, we look forward to enhancing their care and improving the quality of their lives.”

The AAFP’s HCC™ is comprised of new approaches that help family physicians address their learning needs and close gaps in practice performance and patient health outcomes. In essence, the program helps physicians “change the way they do business” for the benefit of patients.

To facilitate the program, the AAFP will engage local physician champions and quality improvement (QI) coaches to support the teams’ improvement efforts. The program’s comprehensive, longitudinal curriculum will guide family medicine teams through completion of baseline practice and patient data assessment activities. Then they will participate in a face-to-face, interactive, team-based learning session emphasizing practice redesign and improvement, as well as needed skills in leadership, team development and change management. Following the in person learning session, teams will obtain additional support via web-based learning sessions, an online learning community and on-going QI coach support over a six month period. During this time, they will test and implement interventions such as integrating clinical decision support, engaging patients in self-management and incorporating registry functionality to identify and engage patients with CAD. They also will monitor patient outcomes, recall patients for recommended treatment and provide appropriate follow-up. These interventions support the patient-centered medical home model of care. At the end of the program, participating teams will re-measure their patient and practice-level data to assess the extent to which interventions improved patient care. The program aims to help practice teams achieve the benchmarks established by the NCQA’s Heart/Stroke Recognition program.

The AAFP’s National Research Network (NRN) will conduct an independent evaluation to measure whether learning objectives were met and outcomes were achieved in regard to their clinical knowledge, performance measures and patient health outcomes.

“This initiative by the AAFP is the kind of high-quality educational initiative that GlaxoSmithKline seeks to support because of the potential it has to improve patient health,” said Bill Sigmund, MD, Senior Vice President of North American Medical Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline. “The project includes measurement of patient and practice level data to determine the extent to which the interventions improved patient care. This is an important and specific way that grants such as this can address the medical burden posed by cardiovascular disease.”

Over time, the AAFP HCC™ curriculum can be tailored to address learning needs and practice performance gaps in caring for patients with a variety of diseases and conditions. However, this inaugural program focuses on CVD management and will be offered in cooperation with the AAFP’s Indiana and Wisconsin chapters. It will involve a total of 32 family medicine practice teams – 16 from each state. All 32 teams will include a family physician, a non physician clinical staff member, and an administrative person from the practice.

Completion of all core components of the AAFP HCC™ enables participating family physicians to earn up to 40 AAFP CME prescribed credits and fulfill Part IV of the Maintenance of Certification requirements of the American Board of Family Medicine via completion of the AAFP’s METRIC module on coronary artery disease. METRIC is the AAFP’s innovative online practice improvement and CME program that helps family physicians improve their patients’ health while enhancing the processes they use in their practice.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).