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© Copyright 2018 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved. 190 North Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572
Toll Free: (800) 523.1546 · Local: (215) 351.2400
Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United
Philadelphia, September 22, 2014 -- The American College of
Physicians (ACP) announced today that it will develop a program to
help patients recognize the signs and symptoms of nonvalvular
atrial fibrillation (NVAF), a common type of arrhythmia or abnormal
heart rhythm that is associated with an approximately five-fold
increase in the risk of embolic stroke.1 ACP received a
$212,000 grant sponsorship in support of the program, "Stopping
Stroke Through Engaged Patients" (STEP), from the Bristol-Myers
Squibb and Pfizer alliance.
"STEP will be a comprehensive patient engagement program with
print, video, and online resources," said David Fleming, MD, FACP,
president, ACP. "Sharing of knowledge, effective communication, and
shared decision making between patients and physicians are critical
components to medication adherence and lifestyle modification,
which are two important factors in reducing the risk of
The prevalence of NVAF is expected to climb given the aging U.S.
population, reaching 12.1 million cases in 2030.2
Under an advisory committee of clinical experts and patient
advocate representatives with support from ACP's Center for Patient
Partnership in Healthcare (CPPH), the STEP program will develop a
comprehensive toolkit that includes a self-management guidebook,
worksheets to engage and empower patients, and a video.
The STEP program will incorporate health literacy best practices
such as utilization of plain language, breaking complex information
into smaller understandable chunks, and limiting the number of
"These various communication modes will appeal to different
types of adult learners, including those who prefer visual aids,
hearing verbal instructions, or using hands-on tools," said Wendy
Nickel, MPH, director, CPPH.
The guidebook will focus on self-management, goal-setting, and
taking steps to control NVAF and reduce stroke risk. Like other ACP
patient self-management materials, the guidebook will feature real
patients telling their stories, with photos and content that
resonate with the adult population at risk for stroke from NVAF.
The guide will be written in commonly used vocabulary and every-day
terms in English and Spanish so that it can be easily understood by
patients and families.
Perforated worksheets inside the guidebook will empower patients
to stay in control of their NVAF and reduce their risk of stroke
through proper medication adherence. Lack of adherence is estimated
to cause approximately 125,000 deaths, an increase in
hospitalizations, and a substantial increase in morbidity and
The video will show how an actual patient was empowered to
reduce the risk of stroke, partnered with the health care team to
develop a treatment plan through shared decision making, and
managed anticoagulation therapy and other medicines.
1. Wolf, P.A., Abbott, R.D., & Kannel, W. B. Atrial
fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: the
Framingham Study. Stroke, 983-988.
2. Liu, X. Estimates of Current and Future Incidence and
Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation in the U.S. Adult Population.
The American Journal of Cardiology, 1142-1147.
3. How to Write Easy-to-Read Health Materials: MedlinePlus.
(2013, February 1). U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Retrieved May 12, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/etr.html
4. Viswanathan M, Golin CE, Jones CD, Ashok M, Blalock SJ, Wines
RC, et al. Interventions to Improve Adherence to Self-administered
Medications for Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Systematic
Review. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157:785-795.
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 141,000 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.