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Building Physician Competency in Lifestyle Medicine: A Model for Health Improvement

In the private sector, rising healthcare costs are forcing companies to examine their role in worker health and care. For the Cummins Corporation, a manufacturer of large engines, the answer was to examine the root cause of poor health among their employees and redefine their approach to clinical care by integrating lifestyle-based interventions—like prescribing food, exercise or sleep instead of simply medication—into the preventive care services provided at on-campus health centers and other settings.

To pursue this first-of-its-kind care model, Cummins partnered with the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) and American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) to develop the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program, a new 30-hour evidence-based curriculum that teaches physicians how to incorporate lifestyle medicine into practice and establishes a new standard for primary care focused on disease prevention, health promotion, and care coordination.

The course provides a basic grounding in lifestyle medicine, a branch of evidence-based medicine in which comprehensive lifestyle changes are used to help prevent, treat, and reverse the progression of many chronic diseases by addressing their underlying causes—such as poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol abuse, stress, and poor sleep, to name a few.

The 15 core competencies of lifestyle medicine from the following five domains—as identified by a blue ribbon panel of medical societies and published in JAMA—address aspects of care related to patient–physician interactions, clinical best practices, and the use of health resources.

  • Leadership – Promote healthy behaviors and environments as a foundation of care
  • Knowledge – Reinforce the value of positive lifestyle changes and sustained support
  • Assessment Skills – Identify and monitor behavior-linked health outcomes
  • Management Skills – Establish effective relationships and develop evidence-based action plans to sustain healthy lifestyle behaviors and environments
  • Use of Office and Community Support – Utilize team care models and community resources to deliver care, measure health outcomes, and improve interventions

Much like the Cummins providers, ACPM encourages physicians, their trainees, and medical education programs to adopt lifestyle medicine immediately to fight ongoing health epidemics and keep pace with reimbursement reform and new care models that are emphasizing prevention, sustained wellness, and coordinated care models.

The ACPM and ACLM are partnering with integrated health systems, medical societies, health plans, corporations, and medical education programs to integrate lifestyle medicine into the culture of American medicine. Participants who complete the program will have a well-rounded training on the major topics in lifestyle medicine and how to utilize these relatively low-cost techniques to improve health outcomes. Continuing medical education (CME) and maintenance of certification (MOC) credits are available.

This commentary (Am J Prev Med 2017;52(2):260–261) was written by Danielle Pere, MPM, on behalf of the American College of Preventive Medicine. ACPM is a professional medical society specializing in disease prevention and population health. The views expressed are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the institutions mentioned in this article.

CONTACT

Dani Pere, MPM
Associate Executive Director, ACPM
202-466-2044 x105
lmccinfo@acpm.org

REFERENCE

Building Physician Competency in Lifestyle Medicine: A Model for Health Improvement. Danielle Pere, MPM . Am J Prev Med 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Link.

RELATED RESOURCES
Summaries

A commentary published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine describes the history and major pillars of the recently-released Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program, a first-of-its-kind curriculum that teaches physicians how to incorporate lifestyle medicine into practice and establishes a new standard for primary care focused on disease prevention, health promotion, and care coordination. http://www.acpm.org/page/lmcommentary

To learn about the history and major pillars of the Lifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program as well as how lifestyle medicine can change the culture of American medicine, improve the bottom line of health care spending in the private sector, and assist physicians preparing for the new MACRA reporting requirements, read a commentary written by Danielle Pere, Associate Executive Director, on behalf of ACPM recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). “Building Physician Competency in Lifestyle Medicine: A Model for Health Improvement.” http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2016.11.001

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