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American College of Physicians launches High Value Care Coordination Toolkit to improve communication between primary care and subspecialist doctors

Toolkit is latest component of ACP's High Value Care initiative to improve health, avoid harms, and eliminate wasteful practices

April 11, 2014 — The American College of Physicians (ACP) today unveiled a High Value Care Coordination Toolkit designed to enable more effective and patient-centered communication between primary care and subspecialist doctors.

"Physicians need specific information to do their jobs effectively," said Molly Cooke, MD, MACP, who is completing her one-year term as ACP's president. "The High Value Care Coordination Toolkit facilitates clear communication between primary care and subspecialist practices so that doctors can provide seamless, coordinated, and quality care to their patients."

The toolkit was developed collaboratively through ACP's Council of Subspecialty Societies (CSS) and patient advocacy groups. CSS acts as a forum for the exchange of ideas between ACP and subspecialty organizations on matters affecting medicine in general and subspecialty societies in particular. The High Value Care Coordination Toolkit includes five components:

  • a checklist of information to include in a generic referral to a subspecialist practice.
  • a checklist of information to include in a subspecialist's response to a referral request.
  • pertinent data sets reflecting specific information in addition to that found on a generic referral request to include in a referral for a number of specific common conditions to help ensure an effective and high value engagement.
  • model care coordination agreement templates between primary care and subspecialty practices, and between a primary care practice and hospital care team.
  • an outline of recommendations to physicians on preparing a patient for a referral in a patient- and family-centered manner.

These resources are the latest components in ACP's High Value Care initiative, which is designed to help doctors and patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues so they can pursue care together that improves health, avoids harms, and eliminates wasteful practices.

Health care expenditures are currently 17 percent of the US GDP and many economists consider this spending unsustainable. Up to 30 percent, or $765 billion, of health care costs were identified as potentially avoidable -- with many of these costs attributed to unnecessary services.

About ACP's High Value Care Initiative
ACP's High Value Care initiative is designed to help doctors and patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues so they can pursue care together that improves health, avoids harms, and eliminates wasteful practices. ACP defines High Value Care as the delivery of services providing benefits that make their harms and costs worthwhile. Value is not merely cost. Some expensive tests and treatments have high value because they provide high benefit and low harm. Conversely, some inexpensive tests or treatments have low value because they do not provide enough benefit to justify even their low costs and might even be harmful.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 137,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

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