The American Academy of Family Physicians has received a $1 million grant to support a new performance improvement continuing medical education program designed to help family physicians enhance the care they provide to patients with cardiovascular disease.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recently announced that it received a $1 million grant from the GlaxoSmithKline Center for Medical Education to support a new performance improvement continuing medical education initiative aimed at improving family physician care of cardiovascular patients. Called “Healthy Communities Collaborative,” or HCC, the program focuses on helping family physicians redesign their practices to better care for their cardiovascular patients.
The inaugural HCC program, which will be offered in cooperation with the AAFP’s Indiana and Wisconsin chapters, will involve 16 family-medicine practice teams from each state. Each of the 32 teams will include a family physician, a nonphysician clinical staff member, and one of the practice’s administrative staff.
A Longitudinal Program
First, the teams will complete baseline practice and patient data assessment activities. Then they will participate in a face-to-face, interactive, team-based learning session that will focus on how to improve the practice. Also included will be training on leadership, team development, and change-management skills. The teams then will be supported for six months with Web-based learning sessions, an online learning community, and ongoing quality improvement coach support. Local physician champions also have been tapped to support the teams’ efforts through the process.
Among the strategies the teams will learn are how to engage patients in self-management and how to use registries to identify and work with patients with CVD. They also will monitor patient outcomes, recall patients for recommended treatment, and follow up as needed.
At the end of the program the teams will measure their patient and practice data to see what interventions actually did improve patient care, using the benchmarks established by the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Heart/Stroke Recognition program. The AAFP’s National Research Network will evaluate the data to determine whether the teams did in fact improve their clinical knowledge, performance measures, and patient health outcomes.
The 18-month longitudinal project is slated to begin in January 2011 and conclude June 2012: Baseline assessment will take place June to September; implementation will occur September 2011 to June 2012. The AAFP NRN's independent evaluation will conclude December 2013.
Participating family physicians who complete all of the HCC’s core components can 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.
Measurement a Key Factor
The emphasis on measurement was important to AAFP’s being one of just four organizations that received a grant from GSK through its most recent grant-making cycle. “The project includes measurement of patient and practice data to determine the extent to which the interventions improved patient care,” said Bill Sigmund, MD, senior vice president of North American Medical Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline, in a release.
While the initiative currently is focused just on CVD care, over time the AAFP HCC curriculum could be adapted to address learning needs and practice performance gaps involved in the care of patients with other diseases and conditions.