The Disease Management Association of America opened its ninth annual conference with a fresh look and a new message to better reflect its growing membership.
Now known as DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance, the group aims to help employers, the government and other healthcare purchasers understand and embrace innovative ways to improve the health of Americans, while encouraging strategies that engage consumers in their own health and setting guidelines to measure outcomes of these interventions.
That may sound like a big job, but its a necessary one, with healthcare representing 16% of the gross domestic product and 75% of those healthcare dollars going toward treatment of preventable diseases, said Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general, who delivered the opening keynote on Sunday at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Were a nation that doesnt understand health and wellness, Carmona told the crowd as they munched on sandwich wraps and lemon tarts. Shame on us as a nation that we need an organization like the DMAA that is doing so many great things.
Officials at DMAAnow known by its acronym, like the AARPsay the message, name and logo needed to change because of the evolution of this sector of healthcare.
Our mission is much broader than it once was, said William Popik, DMAA chairman. And our membership is also shifting.
Among the 200 members of DMAA now are quality and accrediting groups, government agencies, large manufacturers, employer groups, physician groups, insurers as well as disease management companies. It is one reason that the annual meeting is growing; this years gathering has drawn some 1,200 attendees, up from 1,100 last year.
The next step, Popik said, is to convene a panel of external physician groups to further refine principles and to serve as a basis for action.
In the meantime, the group is moving forward with its mission to provide guidelines so everyone can measure and evaluate disease management programs for their correct worth, said Tracey Moorhead, the groups president and chief executive officer.
Understanding how to compare programs is a big problem, she said.