The AMA will monitor and utilize data to share best practices with other systems.
“Our goal is to build clinic-to-community linkages so patients are fully supported in their prevention efforts beyond the clinical setting,” said AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman.
The partnership comes one month after AMA CEO Dr. James Madara compared digital health technology to “the digital snake oil of the early 21st century.” He argued at a conference that things like apps need to be better vetted so they are more useful to physicians.
The collaboration expands Intermountain's current Type 2 diabetes prevention program to the digital realm, offering web-based services from Omada Health to patients at risk for diabetes.
Omada's program uses evidence-based practices approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of their National Diabetes Prevention Program. Omada offers 16-week online lessons to enrollees that provide advice from a personal health coach, track weight loss and monitor eating habits. The program also allows patients to connect and chat with others in a digital space.
Intermountain physicians will recommend Omada's services to patients who are prediabetic or at risk for diabetes. The 22-hospital system currently offers diabetes prevention services including group or individual meetings with a dietitian.
In 2013, the Salt Lake City-based system began efforts to reduce Type 2 diabetes among its patients. About 120,000 patients in its system are at risk for the disease, said Kim Brunisholz, delivery system science fellow at Intermountain.
Brunisholz said that Intermountain still wasn't reaching as much of the population as it wanted. Omada allows the system to reach a wider range of patients.
Omada and Intermountain think those likely to enroll include elderly patients who struggle to travel to providers or those living in rural areas.
According to the CDC, one out of three Americans are prediabetic. Without intervention, 15-30% of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years.
The federal government has made efforts to prevent the disease including the implementation of the Diabetes Prevention Program by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The program included a federally funded study of 3,234 people at risk for diabetes and showed that people can prevent the disease with weight loss efforts and healthier eating.