CDC and AMA Join Forces to Combat Diabetes

Today, the CDC and the American Medical Association (AMA) announced a historic partnership that matches the scale, scope, and urgency of this country’s diabetes epidemic.

Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, Act - Today is a national, multi-year initiative aimed at expanding efforts across the health care system to identify patients at risk for type 2 diabetes; equipping primary care and other physicians to effectively treat patients with prediabetes; and utilizing every available tool to halt the spread of the type 2 diabetes across the United States. As AMA President Dr. Robert M. Wah said in announcing the partnership, “This initiative is about empowering patients to take control of their health.”

That same mission — empowerment — has been at Omada’s core since our founding. The sentiment has been echoed by Prevent participants, like Diana from California, who said that Prevent “gave me a sense of healthy control over my own well-being.” It’s why we’ve relied on behavioral science insights and world-class design to create a program that’s compelling, engaging, and puts people — our health coaches and program participants — at its center. It’s why we worked to validate the effectiveness of Prevent by publishing results in a peer-reviewed medical journal. And it’s why we became one of the first digital programs recognized by the CDC for meeting the evidence-based standards of the National Diabetes Program.

One of the most immediate results of the CDC-AMA partnership is the deployment of an online toolkit to help doctors engage health care teams and patients, and incorporate screening, testing, and behavioral intervention referral for at-risk patients into their practices. Linking doctors with a suite of reference materials and tools that make screening and treating prediabetic patients easier is a huge step. What’s even more encouraging is the willingness both organizations have already shown to integrate digital and online tools in their efforts to fight the spread of chronic disease. In addition to the physician’s toolkit, the STAT initiative also includes an online screening tool for patients – – to assess their risk for type 2 diabetes. We offer a similar screening tool on our own site:

Dr. Ann Albright, head of the Diabetes Division at the CDC, framed the initiative as one of necessity — not simply for the CDC and AMA, but for the system as a whole. “Our health care system simply cannot sustain the continued increases in the number of people developing diabetes,” she said.

We agree. Chronic disease is first a clinical imperative for the health care system. But it is also as an economic one for those who bear the brunt of health care costs. An individual with diabetes can cost their employer, health plan, or the government an additional $6,000 per year than someone without the condition – and that’s without factoring in likely complications or related health problems.

The partnership announced today between the CDC and AMA is both historic and necessary; it represents a critical first step in halting needless suffering, lower quality of life, and an enormous burden on doctors and payers. We believe digital programs like Prevent have a foundational role to play in fighting this battle — and we’re eager to help CDC, AMA, health plans, employers, and doctors deploy effective digital solutions wherever possible. These two organizations have confirmed what we already knew: 2015 is going to be a big year for digital health and diabetes prevention.