AMA House of Delegates

AMA meeting: Progress is reported on 5-year strategic plan

The AMA's CEO provides updates to delegates on the three areas of focus.

By Charles Fiegl , Damon Adams — Posted Nov. 26, 2012

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The American Medical Association is setting up research partnerships with 30 physician organizations in six states to begin enhancing professional satisfaction by shaping delivery and payment models. The effort will determine which practice design elements best support high-quality care, long-term doctor satisfaction and practice sustainability.

AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, told the Association’s House of Delegates about those steps as part of a progress report on the AMA’s five-year strategic plan. He gave the update on Nov. 10 at the opening session of the Interim Meeting.

Enhancing professional satisfaction and practice sustainability by helping doctors navigate delivery and payment models is one of three areas of focus of the plan. The other two are improving patients’ health outcomes and accelerating change in medical education. Dr. Madara first presented the plan to the house in June at the Annual Meeting in Chicago.

At the Interim Meeting, Dr. Madara referred to the goals that drive the strategy as “moon shots” — ambitious targets that are reachable with focus and commitment. He said former President John F. Kennedy set in motion the original moon shot in 1961 by announcing the goal of landing a man on the moon. Kennedy’s vision sparked innovation and ideas, he added.

“Like Kennedy’s challenge, our long-range strategy is aimed at mobilizing the AMA, this house, the thousands of physicians you represent and the larger medical community in support of something greater,” Dr. Madara said. “The achievements that are possible through the fulfillment of this strategy will not only shape a better future for patients and physicians, but for the country as a whole.”

AMA staff have been meeting with experts in health outcomes to assess the work being done in that area and determine where the AMA can contribute toward improving outcomes, he said. The Association will identify a set of conditions and select long-term and intermediate outcomes to focus on those conditions.

To accelerate change in medical education, the AMA’s actions will include developing new methods for measuring and assessing competencies for physicians at all training levels and promoting methods to achieve patient safety, performance improvement and patient-centered care, Dr. Madara said. At the annual meeting of the Assn. of American Medical Colleges in early November, he announced a process to select schools that want to revise their curricula around the AMA’s targeted objectives. In spring 2013, five to 10 proposals will be picked, with selected schools implementing them in summer 2014.

“Physicians want and need help in navigating a rapidly evolving health care environment, and through this initiative, the AMA will work to provide such,” Dr. Madara said.

Delegates attended educational sessions related to the strategic plan. In a session on improving health outcomes, officials with the health system Hawaii Pacific Health told attendees about their experiences with measuring and achieving better patient outcomes. Physicians cannot know how well they are doing unless they have good data to measure quality, said Melinda Ashton, MD, vice president of quality for the health system.

“We don’t achieve 100% every time, but we absolutely shoot for it, because we believe that our patients deserve the right care,” she said.

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