Family Medicine For America’s Health: How to Get Involved

Editor’s Note: The Family Medicine for America’s Health report will be presented in October at the AAFP’s National Assembly. Stay posted to Family Medicine Vital Signs for further updates and presentations on this vital report.

Magill by Michael Magill

You may be aware that the family of family medicine organizations is leading the charge on changing the health of America. Family Medicine for America’s Health (or colloquially, Family Medicine 2.0) is being led by a number of organizations, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, American Board of Family Medicine, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, North American Primary Care Research Group, and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.  What does this change mean for residents, medical students, practicing physicians, policy makers, and populations?

According to a recent update from Family Medicine for America’s Health, “the goal of the Family Medicine for America’s Health initiative is to meet the needs of the American public by achieving the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower cost. This initiative includes two integrated elements: a communications program aimed at consumers, policymakers, payers and the medical community, and a strategic plan that will focus on addressing key issues facing the family medicine specialty.

“Family medicine’s strategic direction is composed of seven statements. Working together with its healthcare colleagues and other engaged stakeholders, family medicine aims to achieve the following:

  1. Show the value and benefits of primary care
  2. Ensure every person will have a personal relationship with a trusted family physician or other primary care professional, in the context of a medical home
  3. Increase the value of primary care
  4. Reduce health care disparities
  5. Lead the continued evolution of the Patient-Centered Medical Home
  6. Ensure a well-trained primary care workforce
  7. Improve payment for primary care by moving away from fee for service and toward comprehensive primary care payment

The strategic plan will focus on six key areas for implementation: Practice, Payment, Workforce Education and Development, Technology, and Research and Engagement. Teams will be developed to focus on tactics in each of these six areas. The Tactic Teams will rely on input and support from a large network of expertise in family medicine and beyond.

What part can you play to help make this project a success? This change cannot be done with just a few leaders, it is going to take a village of family medicine practitioners and most importantly future practitioners.  Stay up to date on communications from all of the family medicine organizations involved in this project through websites and social media, get involved in your local family medicine organizations to see what roles they are playing in this encompassing initiative, and share your views with your peers and others to educate them on the triple aim and the results of this change. The results and initiatives of this wide-ranging report will be presented in October at the AAFP’s Scientific Assembly in Washington, DC.

Remember, this a big initiative where everyone plays a part in the transformation of health care for the American people.  Family medicine is well suited to achieve the triple aim of health care and change the future of health and health care in America.

Michael Magill, MD is the Chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah. You can follow him on Twitter @michaelmagillmd

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