AMA, Omada Health and Intermountain Healthcare Collaborate on Diabetes Prevention Initiative

July 27, 2016
The American Medical Association, digital health company Omada Health, and Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare are collaborating on an evidence-based online diabetes prevention program with the aim of reducing the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

The American Medical Association (AMA), digital health company Omada Health, and Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, a 22-hospital health system, are collaborating on an evidence-based online diabetes prevention program with the aim of reducing the number of adults who develop type 2 diabetes.

Combining the AMA's efforts to raise prediabetes awareness nationally, and Intermountain Healthcare's population health strategies, the initiative will allow Intermountain physicians and care teams to refer patients to, and monitor their progress through an evidence-based online diabetes prevention program, according to an announcement about the initiative. “Access to real-time, actionable data will better position care teams to create specific, personalized patient touch-points to support program completion and success,” the AMA stated in the announcement. And, the collaboration marks the first time that the AMA has worked with a digital healthcare provider to refer high risk patients to an online lifestyle change program, the organization stated.

San Francisco-based digital health company Omada Health developed an online behavior change program that, according to published peer-reviewed results, demonstrated that participants maintained reductions in body weight and average blood sugar levels—critical indicators of diabetes progression—two years after beginning the program.

If the collaboration is successful, the new collaboration could create a roadmap for large health care organizations across the country to adopt proven online behavior change interventions for at-risk patients, and integrate those programs into provider referral and clinical workflow, according to the announcement.

“The addition of Omada to Intermountain's diabetes prevention program will expand patient access to a CDC-recognized program. We anticipate that access to the Omada program will enhance patient engagement and improve health outcomes,” Elizabeth Joy, M.D., M.P.H., Intermountain's medical director for community health and clinical nutrition, said in a statement.

All three organizations believe evidence-based, technology-enabled care models are key to addressing the more than 86 million Americans who currently have prediabetes. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels, but not high enough yet to be considered type 2 diabetes. Research shows that 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years unless they lose weight through healthy eating and increased physical activity. Up to 90 percent of people with prediabetes are unaware that they have the condition, the AMA stated. Within Intermountain's service area, it's estimated that more than 114,000 people are living with prediabetes.

“This collaboration expands upon the AMA's robust efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes in this country through the scalable adoption of proven innovative tools and resources that can help physicians better manage patients with chronic conditions,” AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., said. “With one out of three people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime and at increased risk for serious health problems such as stroke and heart attack, we will continue to do everything we can to significantly decrease the number of American adults who develop the disease.”

“Research shows that participation in evidence-based diabetes prevention programs can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent,” Gurman said. “Online technology such as Omada's program will help Intermountain physicians and care teams stay connected with their patients as they take proactive steps outside of the clinical setting to prevent type 2 diabetes. By bridging this gap, treatment touch-points with patients over the course of their time in the online program can be more meaningful and impactful, which we believe is a win for both patients and their providers.”

 “We're delighted to be partnering with the country's premier physician organization and one of the most innovative health systems in the United States,” Omada Health CEO Sean Duffy, said in a prepared statement. “Intermountain's integration of the Omada program, and AMA's focus on ensuring digital tools work to empower providers will give patients with prediabetes another proven option to meet their care needs. It will also give physicians and their care teams additional treatment options, and actionable data to better understand how to deliver lasting lifestyle change for those in need of it.”

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