American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®


Regents address 'interoperability,' content integration

From the June ACP Observer, copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians.

By Janet Colwell

NEW ORLEANS—At its meeting before Annual Session, the Board of Regents approved several actions on issues of growing importance to internists. Those included approving guidelines for treating chronic stable angina as well as new policy on performance measures. The Regents also approved items on developing an interoperable national electronic information system and on integrating College clinical and non-clinical content into one electronic information resource.

Here are some issues the Regents addressed:

  • Interoperable national information system. The Regents approved a policy paper on enhancing the quality of patient care through the interoperable exchange of electronic health care information.

    The paper details the obstacles, such as cost and the lack of common medical terminology, to achieving that type of system. It also contains recommendations for reaching that goal, including fostering collaboration between public and private sector groups, encouraging capital investment and promoting market-based solutions.

    The paper, which is online, also calls on the federal government and others to provide incentives for collecting data electronically.

  • Chronic stable angina guideline. The Board approved the College's second Clinical Efficacy Assessment Project (CEAP) guideline on the treatment and follow-up of chronic stable angina. The Board approved the first guideline—on risk stratification and diagnosis of chronic stable angina—in January. The guideline has been submitted for publication.

  • Performance measures. The Regents voted for a broad set of recommendations on designing and implementing physician performance measures to improve patient care and reward physicians for the care they provide. (click here to see "College calls for physician-friendly performance measures.")

  • Content integration. The Regents approved a recommendation to integrate all College content in an electronic information resource. The design of the integrated content would allow for incorporation in electronic health record systems and point-of-care decision-support technology.

    The resource will include content from Annals of Internal Medicine, PIER, ACP Medicine, clinical guidelines and ACP books. Non-clinical content will include ACP position papers and materials from the Practice Management Center. Outside content may also include member needs assessments and market research data.

  • Medical professionalism. The Board approved a position paper on improving medical professionalism and revitalizing internal medicine by focusing on the patient-physician relationship.

    Recommendations include advocating for a team approach between general internists and subspecialists, and for both universal access to care and appropriate reimbursement for physicians.

  • Recertification. John Tooker, FACP, the College's Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, told the Board that the College and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) are now jointly surveying internists to see why they are choosing or not choosing to recertify. Survey results should be available this summer.

    The Board's Executive Committee was asked to take under advisement the use of MKSAP as an alternative to the ABIM's Continuous Professional Development process.

  • Internal medicine training. The Board also accepted a statement of concern from the Council of Associates on the future of internal medicine training. The statement focuses on the "training-practice gap," which is the discrepancy between training and actual practice.

    It notes that current training has an inpatient focus, which promotes interest in hospital medicine and subspecialties rather than in general internal medicine. Recommendations included allocating the third year of internal medicine training to mentoring with a practicing physician in an outpatient setting, for those trainees interested in general internal medicine. The statement also supported formal career counseling to educate residents about internal medicine career options.


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