American College of Physicians launches 'Online High Value Care Cases'

Free CME and MOC points available through case studies about how to avoid overuse and misuse of tests and treatments that do not improve outcomes and may cause harms

Philadelphia, January 6, 2014 -- A series of High Value Care case studies are available online for free from the American College of Physicians (ACP) to help clinicians understand the benefits, harms, and costs of tests and treatment options for common clinical issues so they can pursue care that improves health and eliminates wasteful practices.

"Practicing physicians receive little training about how to incorporate High Value Care principles into their practice," said Cynthia D. Smith, MD, FACP, ACP's Senior Physician Educator. "Doctors and other health care professionals can use these case studies to learn how to balance the clinical benefits of diagnostic and treatment options with harms and costs with the goal of improving patient outcomes."

Each topic can be completed in 30 to 60 minutes on desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones. The interactive case studies offer clinicians the opportunity to earn free continuing medical education (CME) credits and ABIM Medical Knowledge (MOC) points.

The five topics are:

  • Avoid Unnecessary Testing
  • Use Emergency and Hospital Level Care Judiciously
  • Improve Outcomes with Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Prescribe Medications Safely and Cost Effectively
  • Overcome Barriers to High Value Care

ACP created and distributed the Online High Value Care Cases with grants from the California Healthcare Foundation and the ABIM Foundation.

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.

In July 2012, ACP and the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine launched a free High Value Care Curriculum to engage internal medicine residents and faculty in small group activities organized around actual patient cases that require careful analysis of the benefits, harms, costs, and use of evidence-based, shared decision making. To date, this curriculum has been downloaded more than 17,000 times.

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.