American College of Physicians launches new website to help physicians and patients practice high value care is latest resource in ACP's High Value Care initiative

PHILADELPHIA, January 16, 2013 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) has launched a new High Value Care website to help physicians and other health care professionals, medical students, and patients understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues and whether they provide good value.

"The American College of Physicians is committed to helping physicians provide the best possible care to their patients while simultaneously slowing the unsustainable rate of health care costs," said David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, president, ACP. "Physicians and patients can use ACP's High Value Care website to learn how to pursue care together to improve health, avoid harms, and reduce wasteful practices."

The new website centralizes resources and information developed by ACP to support its ongoing High Value Care initiative. The streamlined design simplifies access to various features, including:

  • ACP's evidence-based clinical practice recommendations for specific tests and treatments, such as diagnostic imaging for low back pain and drug treatment of type 2 diabetes published in Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP's flagship journal;
  • resources to help implement high value care in physician practices, including ethical considerations, performance measurement recommendations, and peer-reviewed articles about high value care published in Annals of Internal Medicine;
  • summaries of and links to ACP's public policy papers advocating for legislative reforms that would enhance the delivery of care while reducing costs;
  • the High Value Cost-Conscious Care Curriculum for internal medicine residents created by ACP and the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine;
  • patient education materials, including brochures for common clinical issues created in partnership with Consumer Reports and based on ACP's evidence-based recommendations; and
  • videos about high value care topics for physicians, medical students, and patients.

ACP launched its High Value Care initiative in 2010 because health care expenditures are projected to reach almost 20 percent of the United States' GDP by 2020. Many economists consider this spending rate 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.

"By identifying and eliminating wasteful practices that do not improve health, physicians can provide the best possible care to their patients while reducing unnecessary costs to the health care system at the same time," said Steven E. Weinberger, MD, FACP, Chief Executive Officer and EVP, ACP.

ACP considers 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 or might potentially 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 133,000 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.