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The addition of ACLM as a content provider to AMA Ed Hub will greatly expand access to the professional medical society’s continuing medical education courses (CME) focused on the six pillars of lifestyle medicine — nutrition, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, positive social connection and avoidance of harmful substances. ACLM joins other well-known organizations such as the JAMA Network™, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Hospital Medicine as AMA Ed Hub content providers, among many others.
“The designation of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine as an official AMA Ed Hub content provider means that more health care professionals will be able to experience and benefit from ACLM’s high-quality, evidence-based educational courses,” said ACLM President Catherine Collings, MD, MS, FACC, DipABLM. “We are delighted to collaborate with the AMA to provide health professionals the knowledge to apply whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle changes to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and obesity.”
Lifestyle medicine is a medical specialty that uses therapeutic lifestyle interventions as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions including, but not limited to, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Lifestyle medicine certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine also provides effective prevention for these conditions.
ACLM offers over 100 hours of CME and CE via online courses and in-person events, as well as maintenance of certification for various specialties and for those certified in the field of lifestyle medicine. Continuing medical education courses ensure that physicians and other health professionals stay current in a field or specialty, Improve the care they provide and maintain licenses or credentials to practice in hospitals.
The AMA Ed Hub is a streamlined digital platform with more than 8,000 activities and almost 4,000 CME options in a variety of formats such as articles, podcasts, videos, quizzes and interactive modules.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Physicians are sometimes thought to be on the front lines of fighting medical misinformation because they are in the advantageous position of interacting closely with a wide range of patients.
Lately, some physicians have taken to debunking medical misinformation online, even though some estimates suggest that as many as one in four physicians who address medical misinformation on social media are attacked in response. Renewed efforts have focused on training physicians to respond calmly and effectively when this happens.
But what if other physicians are spreading disinformation? This is not as unusual as it might sound. In June 2022, the American Medical Association deemed it enough of a problem to adopt a new policy which includes measures such as educating physicians to be debunkers of disinformation and educating the public to recognize disinformation. Many of the action steps in this policy are unfortunately vague, such as “address disinformation disseminated by health professionals via social media platforms and address the monetization of spreading disinformation on social media platforms” and “consider the role of health professional societies in serving as appropriate fact-checking entities for health-related information disseminated by various media platforms.”
The most important provision in the policy has to do with the power of state medical boards to take disciplinary action when doctors spread disinformation. But more needs to be done: A coordinated effort between states and medical societies like the AMA is needed to identify and have a clear set of disciplinary actions in place for doctor-led disinformation.
Some form of surveillance mechanism and set of clear and consistent disciplinary actions for various types of actions involving disinformation needs to be established. The AMA should lead this process. In addition, the general public needs to be better educated about how to spot physician-led disinformation and, importantly, how to report propagators to state medical licensing boards. It is probably the case that most members of the public would not know how to do this.
Importantly, we need more information about the motivation behind the spread of disinformation among doctors and the methods that can be used to control the spread of this information online. As many have noted, a lot of physician-led disinformation can be traced back to just 12 individuals, often called the “Disinformation Dozen," who are responsible for 65 percent of the false anti-vaccine information shared on social media surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines in particular.
While not all 12 are physicians, some certainly are and have been peddling false information about vaccines and other courses on Facebook for years while often selling supplements and other products. The question then arises as to why Facebook is only now beginning to take down some of their accounts and why they are taking action so slowly, banning some but not all of them.
Facebook is probably in the best position to surveil where disinformation comes from on its platform and should be much more active in banning people who become superspreaders. While many have posited that profit is what is mostly behind the Disinformation Dozen’s and others’ spread of lies about health and medicine, there are probably also potent ideological and political motivations as well, and we should not dismiss the possibility that these may be the primary motives in many cases and that some physicians are leading a coordinated attack on our democratic values and our sense of who and what we can trust.
Finally, what does it mean for physicians and others to become adept at dispelling disinformation? These claims can be quite powerful and are not always so easily debunked. We suggest that physicians be trained in various methods of dismantling mis- and disinformation, such as motivational interviewing, pre-debunking, and inoculation methods.
These and other sophisticated methods in the growing literature on misinformation should be something all doctors can call upon as they encounter dis- and misinformation online and in the clinic. The AMA should be at the center of this effort as well as efforts to surveil social media for signs of viral disinformation if they are truly serious about doing something about this problem.
Created to address clinical staffing shortages in underserved areas, the assistant physician role is also designed to employ medical school graduates who have not matched into a residency program.
However, providers and medical organizations have not widely embraced assistant physicians as an effective solution. In the eight years since the position was created, only five states have licensed it, including Missouri, which created the position.
Assistant physicians graduate from medical school and have many of the same responsibilities as other clinical staff such as the similarly named physician assistants. But they do not have to complete a residency or undergo extensive hours of clinical rotations before diagnosing and treating patients. Assistant physicians are required to work in medically underserved areas, cannot practice independently and are not reimbursed by Medicare along with some commercial insurers.
Organizations such as the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians have opposed the designation, saying they are concerned about safety issues and that the quality of care provided by assistant physicians—particularly in medical care deserts—may not be not on par with doctors who have completed their residencies.
Discussion on the future of assistant physicians recently resurfaced in the medical community as advocates create model legislation for other states and seek to alter existing rules.
In June, the AMA House of Delegates rejected a proposal from its Missouri delegation to support assistant physician programs, and said it opposes any effort for graduating physicians to become independent, licensed physicians. It also opposes expanding the scope of their practice to other services or by geography without completing formal residency training.
ADDRESSING A PROBLEM
In 2014, Missouri created a licensed position called assistant physicians, sometimes referred to as associate physicians.
By tapping into a population of graduates that did not match into residency programs and having them work as licensed physicians in areas short of health professionals throughout Missouri, the state was able to "take an available resource and apply it to a real need," said Keith Frederick, a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives.
For years the limited availability of residency or postdoctoral training slots and application process complexities, paired with a greater number of graduates, has made the path to licensure more difficult, said Frederick, who helped pass the state bill to license assistant physicans. The assisant physician role becomes an opportunity for individuals to provide services and make a living to repay medical school loans, he said.
"If you have that amount of debt, and you can't continue training, it's kind of like having a mortgage but no house and no job," Frederick said.
Assistant physicians work under a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed supervising physician and typically have the same duties as nurse practitioners or physician assistants, prescribing medications, performing patient exams and assisting in surgery.
To become an assistant physician in Missouri, an individual must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident who is proficient in English, has graduated from a recognized medical school, has passed steps one and two of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination and has not matched into or completed a residency program.
Once they receive their license, assistant physicians are required to receive a month of clinical training before practicing in a health provider shortage area, with oversight from a supervising physician.
Utah, Arkansas, Arizona and Kansas have followed Missouri's example and established similar licensing programs.
After graduating from medical school, Trevor Cook got a job as a medical scribe and dove into the residency application process, which he described as a "capitalistic hellscape." Cook said he spent thousands of dollars sending out test score transcripts and applied to hundreds of programs but was not accepted.
Cook came across job listings for assistant physicians in Missouri. Following 120 hours of training with a collaborating physician, Cook obtained his assistant physician license in 2018 and began working in urgent care.
"I perceive it as becoming a professional in the business, and the only way to really learn is to do it," Cook said.
For the last four years Cook said he has had the same responsibilities as a doctor, running tests, treating and diagnosing conditions, updating emergency medical records and referring patients to specialists. Cook said he sometimes works with his supervising physician, who is required to review at least 10% of his notes and be within 50 miles while Cook is practicing medicine.
A major sticking point for healthcare leaders is concern that assistant physicians do not have the same level of training and qualifications as those who have completed a residency program.
"We are very much in favor of our trainees following the traditional accepted path to full licensure," said Alison Whelan, chief academic officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges. "It dictates by specialty the type of learning and clinical experience that the resident must have to be an effective independent practitioner."
Just because a student has a medical degree does not mean they are ready to provide safe and effective independent care, especially without receiving training, supervision and feedback specific to their practice area, Whelan said. Residency programs can span more than four years and include 16,000 hours of direct clinical care experience.
The AMA has opposed the concept of the assistant physician since Missouri introduced it, fearing it might weaken the organization's case for increasing graduate medical education funding and creating more residency slots.
This year, more than 42,000 students applied for around 39,000 residency positions, and almost 37,000 positions were filled, leaving several thousand applicants unmatched, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program.
The main reason residency slots go unfilled is because students tend to try to match into specialties such as family or emergency medicine that are not a good fit for them, said Dr. Sterling Ransone, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. When residency slots fill up in specialties, students untrained in other areas are in limbo, unable to apply to an area with open slots, Ransone said.
Ransone said he advocates for the correct allocation of funds to schools, hospitals and residency programs that allow for graduate students to gain more exposure to underserved communities and a variety of specialities.
Recently, the AMA urged support for two federal bills. One, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, would expand Medicare funding for 14,000 additional residency positions. The other, the Physician Shortage Graduate Medical Education Cap Flex Act, would provide teaching hospitals with an extra five years to set their funding cap if they form residency training programs in primary care or other specialties facing shortages.
In July, the Health and Human Services Department announced $155 million in awards to 72 teaching health centers that operate primary care medical and dental residency programs in underserved and rural communities.
Amid all the abbreviations, titles and job descriptions in healthcare, some are concerned the assistant physician role adds to the confusion for patients, particularly with the existence of physician assistants. Physician assistants take a different road to licensure, though they have many of the same responsibilities as assistant physicians.
To become a physician assistant, medical students must earn a master's degree through an accredited physician assistant program—which includes more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations—and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. Physician assistants have to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education credits every two years to maintain their certification.
In 2020, Missouri issued 169 assistant physician licenses, compared with 114 in 2021 and 17 in 2022, according to the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts. The state issued 200 physician assistant licenses in 2020, 282 in 2021, and 139 this year.
CONCERNS FOR UNDERSERVED AREAS
Assistant physicians are required to work in areas that lack medical providers, which has led to worries about health equity.
"There's some concern that they're going to create a kind of second-class physician that is for people who are already socially and economically disadvantaged," said Patricia Pittman, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University. "Essentially, rich people see physicians and less rich people see those who were not able to become physicians, which is a bit problematic from an equity perspective."
Treating individuals in communities that lack access to care is often more complex due to the myriad social issues underlying their condition and requires more clinical experience rather than less, said Doug Olsen, president of the board of directors at the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.
Rather than only allowing assistant physicians to work in healthcare deserts, their position should be expanded as part of a workforce for the entire state of Missouri, Olsen said.
"If they're good enough for the underserved, they should be good enough for the served," he said. "If they're good enough for the uninsured, they should be good enough for the insured."
Olsen said there is an absence of consistent evidence and patient-reported outcome measures that prove assistant physicians deliver high quality care and should be practicing with an expanded scope, despite eight years of the position's use.
Better solutions exist for staffing and care access in medically disadvantaged areas, such as obtaining long-term funding and creating partnerships between stakeholders and teaching health centers to provide more training opportunities and bring in more clinicians, said Amanda Pears Kelly, executive director for the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.
"What we're trying to do with healthcare transformation is create situations where we can actually lift up these communities so that they're no longer underserved," Pears Kelly said.
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The group that sets the standards for medical education recently released standards that force students to study and apply ideology typically pushed by the far-left while integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into formal curricula.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published the New and Emerging Areas in Medicine series to help students benefit from "advancements in medical education over the past 20 years," and the third report from the collection "focuses on competencies for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)."
The report notes that accurate medical school graduates must demonstrate "knowledge about the role of explicit and implicit bias in delivering high-quality healthy care," "describe past and current examples of racism and oppression," identify "systems of power, privilege and oppression and their impacts on health outcomes" including "White privilege, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, religious oppression" and "articulate race as a social construct that is a cause of health and health care inequities."
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a board-certified kidney specialist, is the Board Chair of Do No Harm, a group of medical professionals dedicated to eliminating political agendas from healthcare. He feels the AAMC is doing more harm than good with its new standards that he believes will irk the American people.
"The AAMC agenda means that critical race theory will be an integral part of the education of medical students and this can only lead to discrimination against one racial group vs. another. One of the leaders of CRT, Dr. Ibrim Kendi, has declared that past discrimination can only be cured by future discrimination. I do not think the American people will like this kind of health care," Dr. Goldfarb told Fox News Digital.
"The AAMC sets the standards for medical education," Dr. Goldfarb continued. "This latest set of expectations for the education of medical students and residents is nothing more than indoctrination in a political ideology and can only detract from achieving a health care system that treats all individual patients optimally."
In May, Legal Insurrection’s CriticalRace.org, which monitors CRT curricula and training in higher education, found that at least 39 of America’s 50 most prestigious medical colleges and universities have some form of mandatory student training or coursework on ideas related to critical race theory.
"The national alarm should be sounding over the racialization of medical school education. The swiftness and depth to which race-focused social justice education has penetrated medical schools reflects the broader disturbing trends in higher education," Legal Insurrection founder William A. Jacobson told Fox News Digital at the time.
Jacobson, a clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School, also found that 39 of the top 50 medical schools "have some form of mandatory student training or coursework" related to CRT and 38 offered materials by authors Robin DiAngelo and Ibram Kendi, whose books he said explicitly call for discrimination.
"Mandatory so-called 'anti-racism' training centers ideology, not patients, as the focus of medical education. This is a drastic change from focusing on the individual, rather than racial or ethnic stereotypes," Jacobson said.
In 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) committed to utilizing CRT in a variety of ways and criticized the idea that people of different backgrounds should be treated the same. All 50 schools examined by CriticalRace.org are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which sponsors the Association of American Medical Colleges, which has also taken steps to support anti-racist initiatives, and the AMA.
Jacobson believes "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion entrenched bureaucracies promote, protect and relentlessly expand their administrative territory in medical schools," but the resources should instead be used "to expand medical knowledge and patient care, not to enforce an ideological viewpoint."
The Association of American Medical Colleges sent Fox News Digital the following statement:
"Our goal, and the goal of every medical school, is to recruit a diverse class of talented medical students and educate them to Improve the health of their patients and the communities they serve in an evidence-based manner. Students must learn to consider all factors that affect health. As science advances and we understand more about what impacts health, medical schools will incorporate these discoveries into their curricula.
The AAMC’s responsibility is to work with our member institutions to disseminate effective new curricular approaches based on scientific evidence. With the common goal of achieving better health, we must recognize that changes to medical school curricula based on evolving evidence will ultimately help us achieve that.
The recently released competencies are grounded in the STEM disciplines that are taught in medical school and that future physicians need to care for their patients.
We have evidence that supports that race is a social construct, and there is a growing body of evidence about what race is and isn’t, and its impact on health. These new insights are improving medical practice and allow us to shift our thinking in medical education to better prepare tomorrow’s doctors.
The medical profession is grounded in the human interaction between doctor and patient and the factors that affect a patient’s health. We have an obligation to address and mitigate the factors that drive racism and other biases in health care and prepare physicians who are culturally responsive and trained to address these issues. Ignoring these facts would be detrimental to being able to provide sensitive, individualized, and medically appropriate care to each patient. The next generation of physicians must have the comprehensive skills and knowledge needed to heal all those in their care."
The article was updated to include a statement from the AAMC.
A quiet academic debate over a physician's right to refuse specific healthcare services on the basis of moral or ethical objections or religious beliefs is spilling over into the HIV arena in some states, pitting some patients requesting preventive medication (preexposure prophylaxis or PrEP) against legislators and lawyers.
The concept of conscientious objection or refusal in healthcare is not new; even the American Medical Association (AMA) supports the rights of physicians to act in accordance with conscience. But its application beyond what was once mostly under the aegis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops into unchartered territory has some experts understandably worried.
"One of the things that you've seen over the last couple of decades is this phenomenon called conscience creep, the way that conscientious objection creeps outside traditional contexts – [like] abortion, sterilization, organ transplantation," Abram Brummett, PhD, an assistant professor of Foundational Medical Studies at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan, told Medscape Medical News.
"How can we constrain some of these conscience claims especially from becoming a mask for stigma or discrimination in medicine?" he pondered.
Brummett speaks from personal experience. As a graduate student at Saint Louis University, he was denied a prescription for PrEP — first on the basis of his university's Catholic commitments (ironically, the Church does not formally object to PrEP) and then because his physician was against "enabling immoral sexual behavior." (Brummett is bisexual.)
"When it comes to prescribing PrEP and any medical objection to somehow being complicit in someone's sexual life and sexual identity — that's coming from a strictly religious basis," explained Jason Eberl, PhD, a healthcare ethics professor at the Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at Catholic-based Saint Louis University.
But "the Catholic position is basically that every human being should be respected in terms of their inherent dignity. [Granted], physicians can be overly scrupulous, even more scrupulous than the churches, but this does not mean that a physician should not do what is necessary to help protect that patient from being infected with HIV," Eberl said.
Eberl notes that the debate among medical ethicists over conscientious objection falls under three major positions:
Conscious absolutism, which argues that physicians should have a legally protected right to exercise their conscience.
The incompatibility thesis, which argues that conscience and the exercise of conscience is incompatible with one's identity as a healthcare professional.
A compromise view (such as that adopted by the AMA and other professional organizations), which acknowledges physicians' and other clinicians' rights to refuse service so long as they meet certain conditions like communicating accurate, unbiased information about available services and refer patients to other healthcare professionals willing to provide that service.
Granted, almost all US states currently have some iteration of a conscience clause that protects healthcare professionals' rights to refuse to perform certain services to which they have moral or religious objections.
But conscience creep is showing itself to be formidable opponent, and numerous states have already adopted or are considering laws that appear to affect mostly underserved populations and LGBTQ people directly and negatively, raising questions about discriminatory care provision.
For example, in June, South Carolina legislators passed the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act (H3518) that not only allows providers to refuse care but also protects them from all civil, criminal, or administrative liability. In addition, the law includes a provision for insurers, entitling them to refuse to pay for certain services that violate their personal convictions.
South Carolina is not alone in the movement to protect providers and insurers. The US District Court for the Northern District of Texas-Fort Worth Division is currently hearing arguments in a class action suit (Kelly vs Azar ) aimed at dismantling an Affordable Care Act provision that requires insurers to cover the cost of PrEP on the basis that it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. When Medscape reached out to lead attorney Jonathan Mitchell for comment, he declined to go on record about the case.
Texas infectious disease specialists are understandably concerned. However, physicians and healthcare providers practicing in other states might wish to pay attention.
"When you look at the epidemiology of the HIV epidemic in the United States, what we have here [in Texas] is similar," said Galant Chan, MD, an assistant professor of medicine-infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and director of the Thomas Street Health Center, one of the largest and oldest HIV prevention and care clinics in the country.
"That's why it's so important to provide HIV prevention services, really to a demographic that is bearing the burden of the HIV epidemic in the United States."
Newly released AIDSVu data provide a clearer picture of what Chan is referring to, especially when it comes to PrEP. From 2020 to 2021, Black people made up 52% of new HIV diagnoses in the South, but comprised only 21% of PrEP users, while Hispanic/Latinx people represented 27% of new HIV diagnoses and 17% of PrEP users.
In Texas specifically, the PrEP-to-need ratio (ratio of the number of PrEP users in 2021 to the number of those newly diagnosed with HIV in 2019) is 8.05 overall. Broken down by race, the ratio is just 3.02 in Black people and 4.96 in Hispanic/Latinx people, but it reaches 27.16 in White people.
"If you're talking about marginalized populations, there's already a hesitancy to engage, there's already a mistrust with the medical system. Issues like this only contribute to that hesitancy," said Chan.
Recent survey findings published July 2 in the Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care suggest there's no consensus among healthcare providers. Roughly a quarter of healthcare providers (including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and midwives) agreed (28.2%), disagreed (22.3%), or strongly disagreed (27.3%), that providing HIV prevention services was part of their clinical practice, even though the majority felt comfortable talking about HIV acquisition risk.
Findings from a study conducted among 820 primary care clinicians in the Southeast US suggested that overall, fewer than 40% discussed sexual health with their patients. The study was published online July 28 in the journal Family Practice. Among those who offered HIV testing (75.8%), only 16% ever prescribed PrEP. In their discussion, the authors wrote that although they did not directly examine stigma, the "existing literature indicates that HIV-related stigma could be negatively affecting HIV prevention and care during clinical encounters."
According to Brummett, one of the biggest concerns is that the laws being enacted don't draw the distinction between people and procedures. Also known as unconscious bias, the distinction describes a situation in which objections to providing a certain type of care or performing a procedure are not about the procedure itself, but rather, a person's race, age, or sexual preferences.
"I think that we are right to worry about laws not being able to constrain discriminatory conscious claims, especially in those states where anti-discrimination laws may not necessarily cover sexual orientation or gender identify," Brummett said.
Sarah Hull, MD, MBE, a cardiologist and associate director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, is more emphatic in her viewpoint on conscientious objection in HIV.
"It's unethical to pick and choose to whom we are willing to provide care based on identities or life choices," she emphasized.
"We know that LGBTQ+ individuals [and] individuals with substance use disorder are subject to a lot of stigma in society. So, they are already coming to the healthcare system with less privilege," Hull explained. "If we selectively deny them more care, we're only going to worsen their access and deepen the inequities," she added.
In the newly-released Consolidated Guidelines on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and STIs, the World Health Organization points to the ramifications when care is not directed toward key population groups disproportionately affected by HIV compared with people outside those groups. One of the most important is that preventing new infections and reducing viral loads in these key populations has a greater impact on ongoing transmission and population incidence and prevalence compared with focusing solely on lower-risk networks outside these groups.
Eberl pointed out that although PrEP is only one part of the HIV prevention toolbox, denying evidence-based HIV treatment because of moral, religious, or personal philosophical objections to specific patients' lifestyle or private choices is incompatible with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). Rather, it's an all or nothing proposition: refuse PrEP prescriptions across the board or not at all.
As Texas physicians wait anxiously for the outcome of Kelly vs Azar, Chan points to the obvious.
"Compared with the national average, our HIV incidence and prevalence rates are higher. This will be a big hit in terms of our efforts to make headway in the HIV epidemic," she said.
Brummett, Eberl, Chan, and Hull report no relevant financial relationships.
Liz Scherer is an independent journalist specializing in infectious and emerging diseases, cannabinoid therapeutics, neurology, oncology, and women's health.
Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 4, 2022--
TecTraum Inc., dedicated to providing the world’s first point-of-care treatment for concussions known as pro2cool ®, announces today that the American Medical Association (AMA) has issued a new Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT ® ) code to help clinicians treat sports-related concussion symptoms with its flagship technology, pro2cool ®. The AMA recognizes that healthcare technology evolves rapidly and developed Category III codes to recognize emerging technologies as a means of treating patients with noninvasive measures. CPT ® is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association.
The pro2cool ® system is a novel, noninvasive hypothermic therapy device designed to reduce the severity of concussion symptoms and allow patients to return to their pre-injury baseline sooner. The device provides localized cooling for the head and neck to lower blood temperature before it enters the brain. In previous clinical trials, researchers observed significant improvements in clinical outcomes through the cooling of the brain within days of the concussion.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the United States alone. Additionally, from 2001 to 2012, the rate of emergency room visits doubled for treating children with concussions. The AMA’s website publishes updates of the CPT ® Editorial Panel of the Category III codes in July and January, and they provide important clinical information. CPT ® codes are used by Government payers and commercial health plans for reimbursement, but they also are intended to be used for data collection to validate more widespread usage or to provide documentation for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process.
“This new recognition by the American Medical Association represents a major milestone for pro2cool ® and captures the importance of the advancement and evolution of new technologies in the healthcare environment,” said John Zak, MD, TecTraum’s CEO. “TecTraum is strongly positioned for revolutionizing the treatment of concussions and providing an essential medical device for young athletes. The Category III CPT ® issuing brings us one step closer to delivering noninvasive concussion therapy to patients and will allow for important data collection needed to expand our usage beyond sports-related injuries.”
The new Category III CPT ® code for pro2cool ® was awarded on July 1, 2022, however, is not able to be used in medical billing until TecTraum receives market authorization from the FDA. The new code that was awarded to the company (CPT 0776T) is defined as the following:
The pro2cool ® device is not currently cleared for use by the FDA. TecTraum anticipates submission of clinical trial data to the FDA for consideration of market authorization later this year 2022, with a commercial launch of the pro2cool ® system early next year 2023.
About TecTraum Inc.
TecTraum Inc. is a team of leading biomedical engineers, physicians, entrepreneurs, and current and former professional athletes who are passionate about developing breakthrough technology for the treatment of concussions. At TecTraum, science comes before sales. TecTraum’s pivotal clinical trial is aimed at benefitting patients and the medical field by providing data-driven results and research-based solutions for the treatment of concussions that are proven safe and effective for all users.
For more information about pro2cool ® or partnering with TecTraum, visit www.pro-2-cool.com.
View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220804005029/en/
CONTACT: Chuck Miller
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA OHIO
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: RESEARCH CHILDREN CLINICAL TRIALS PRACTICE MANAGEMENT OTHER HEALTH MANAGED CARE GENERAL HEALTH CONSUMER HEALTH SCIENCE
SOURCE: TecTraum Inc.
Copyright Business Wire 2022.
PUB: 08/04/2022 08:00 AM/DISC: 08/04/2022 08:02 AM
Modern medicine has made unimaginable strides in improving the quality of care and the speed at which new medical interventions can be developed – accurate examples include the almost unbelievable rapidity with which both tests for, and vaccines against, Covid-19 became available. Yet apparently groundbreaking medical advances do not always translate into tangible improvements in patient outcomes. So, why should that be? Let’s consider the accurate example of a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association Open Network that shows mortality from heart disease and stroke in the US rose 10% in eight years from 2011 to 2019. Given all the improvements in cardiovascular care, including improved interventional and pharmacological treatments, this is disappointing — but not altogether surprising.
I have attended many conferences where discussions often center around the minutiae of improvements to devices and technique for procedures such as coronary angioplasty & stenting. Again, like my colleagues, I have marveled at our ability to continually Improve the efficacy of these treatments, gaining additional percentage points in terms of success rates and projected outcomes – and yet, time and again, these advances most often benefit patients who can already access care. A better coronary artery stent cannot help a patient who cannot afford it, does not know they need it, doesn’t have a doctor who can make a diagnosis and identify that need, or even doesn’t know how to access healthcare services. To help these patients, we urgently need to look at health equity.
How health equity can mitigate deaths from heart disease
There is no global healthcare system that is truly equal for everybody, although the relevance and magnitude of health inequity varies from geography to geography. In the US, the world’s largest economy, the impact of health inequalities are visible across the field, from lack of access to specialty care in rural regions to higher maternal mortality rates for Black women, to the disproportionate impact of Covid on communities of color. The JAMA study also reports an increase in deaths from heart disease among disadvantaged groups from 2019 to 2020. This is also mirrored in other contemporary reports, adding to the burgeoning data on the importance of social determinants of health (SDOH), highlighting the multitude of social factors, including economic stability, access to healthcare, food and education or racial/ethnic group, that can adversely impact a patient’s health.
In order to make some headway towards health equity and improvements in patient outcomes for heart disease, we must try to address, or at least consider such SDOH. The kind of technical procedural advances mentioned above pale into insignificance when considering the potential benefits of addressing these bigger-picture issues. The kind of mitigation efforts will vary by patient and region, but practices could include increasing access to care by offering free or reduced-cost transportation services to low-income patients, providing translation services for patients more comfortable in their first language, and offering free or low-cost care to uninsured or underinsured patients. Primary care physicians in practices treating disadvantaged patients should also be trained to look for advanced warning signs, as well as communicate with their patients about the kind of symptoms that they should note and report.
A critical factor in driving towards health equity is improving health education. Our collective efforts to date have been effective in educating the public on the symptoms that indicate a heart attack, for example, but not on what to do next or how to navigate cardiac care. Calling 911 is a good step, but what questions should patients and caregivers ask of medical professionals in this scenario? What treatments should they expect? Will their insurance cover their care? Not knowing any of the possible answers to these questions upfront can prevent patients from seeking care under the assumption that they might be turned away or face financial hardship.
The impact of Covid on heart disease deaths
Covid has exacerbated some of the trends we were already seeing in patient outcomes and has created unique challenges for patients seeking care — or, as is often the case, electing not to seek care for fear of exposure to the virus in crowded hospital units. Those that did choose to go to the hospital then faced a shortage of ICU beds and medical supplies, overworked nurses and medical staff, and a system overwhelmed by the pandemic. We know that systemic effects of Covid infection, including blood clots and inflammation, were more likely to affect patients with preexisting heart conditions, and these patients, too, were more likely to suffer from long-lasting disease effects – and in turn that these patients were more likely to be underresourced/underserved/disadvantaged.
We have to address this trend
We cannot just blame Covid for the increase in heart disease diagnoses and deaths. The fact remains that heart disease trends predate the pandemic, and that death rates were rising a decade before Covid reached the United States. That tells us that this problem is systemic — and that the tools to address the problem must be implemented systemwide, as well. Today, health tech developments like telemedicine visits, wearable health devices, apps, and more already exist but are not yet widely available or accessible. To reverse this trend in heart disease deaths, we need to ensure patient access to the tools we already have, as well as tools currently in development. Only by creating and distributing medical interventions with health equity in mind will we as an industry be able to make the changes needed to Improve patient outcomes across the board.
Photo: hudiemm, Getty Images
A prominent public health physician and epidemiologist from The Australian National University (ANU) who has shaped public discourse on e-cigarettes by highlighting the dangers they pose has been honoured by the peak professional body for doctors in Australia.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has awarded Professor Emily Banks AM with the AMA Gold Medal – the highest honour bestowed by the medical body – for exceptional contributions to medicine and public health.
Earlier this year, Professor Banks and her ANU colleagues published a major report that reviewed the emerging global evidence on e-cigarettes. It found use of nicotine e-cigarettes, or vapes, carry significant harms — particularly among young people — and could lead to a range of adverse health outcomes, including poisoning, seizures, trauma, burns and lung injury.
The report also found young non-smokers who vape are three times as likely to take up smoking compared to those who don’t vape.
The findings were widely reported in the Australian media landscape and sparked a national discussion about the dangers of e-cigarettes and the growing uptake of vapes among young Australians.
Outgoing AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid commended Professor Banks for her important and timely research into e-cigarettes, which has been conducted in the face of fierce opposition and growing political pressure by the tobacco industry.
“As the tobacco industry has unscrupulously marketed to children, teenagers and young people, Professor Banks and her research team at ANU have provided high-quality data the community, doctors and policymakers need to make truly informed decisions,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Time and again, Professor Banks has provided evidence to support action to safeguard health, and vaping is no exception.
“Professor Banks’ work has contributed to Australia’s world-unique prescription-only model for e-cigarettes and clearly demonstrates the need to keep these highly addictive products out of our schools.”
Professor Banks and team’s internationally recognised research into e-cigarettes has been integral in educating the public about the risks of vaping and has provided the framework for governments across Australia and overseas to make informed policy decisions around the use of e-cigarettes.
Professor Banks said it’s an incredible honour to be recognised by doctors working on the frontline.
“Public health is the ultimate team sport and this award pays tribute to everyone who has generously shared their experiences to help others, and everyone in the community who takes steps to protect their health and that of other people.
“Whether it’s by quitting smoking, wearing a seatbelt, getting vaccinated or some other action – you are the heroes.”
In 2021, Professor Banks was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her achievements and service to medical research and education. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Professor Banks’ research focuses on cardiovascular disease, cancer, tobacco control, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and healthy ageing. Her work revolves around using large-scale evidence to identify solutions aimed at improving health outcomes at an individual and population level.
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