To create practical, real-world, evidence-based guidelines for physicians, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) introduced a module and toolkit for obesity medicine that will support healthcare professionals as they initiate obesity care in their practices.
AACE declared obesity to be a disease in 2012, citing abundant clinical evidence that identifies obesity as a hormone-based disease state, producing signs, symptoms and morbidity which satisfies the AMA’s established definition of a disease.
“The AACE module and toolkit for obesity medicine emphasize an efficient process of data gathering, evaluation and therapeutic decision-making for establishing a financially viable model for obesity care in medical practices while significantly improving patient outcomes,” said W. Timothy Garvey, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition Sciences, School of Health Professions at the University of Alabama Birmingham, and Chair of the AACE Obesity Scientific Committee.
Components of the obesity module, which is based on the Obesity Algorithm that is part of the AACE/ACE Comprehensive Diabetes Management Algorithm and the Advanced Framework for a New Diagnosis of Obesity, include preparing the clinicians’ offices for obesity medicine, approaches for discussing obesity as a disease with patients, the anthropometric and clinical component of the diagnosis using body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, strategies and tools for efficient high-quality care, and assistance with decisions on the proper therapy, as well as logistics, finances and coding for a successful obesity medicine practice.
The module is designed to focus more closely on disease complications and less on BMI, that is not to concentrate only on an anthropometric measurement of excess body weight, but also on the presence and absence of the complications of obesity, said Garvey.
The joint AACE/American College of Endocrinology approach to the diagnosis, evaluation, and care of patients with obesity integrates an advanced framework for a new diagnosis of obesity and the AACE Obesity Algorithm.
The 4-step approach:
Anthropometric Component: screen with BMI and waist circumference.
Clinical Component: physical examination, review of systems, and clinical laborator.
Obesity Complications Staging and Risk Stratification: evaluations using complications-specific criteria.
Types of Chronic Disease Prevention/Treatment: treatment based on clinical judgement.
The new AACE initiative is a result of the AACE/ACE Consensus Conference on Obesity: Building an Evidence Base for Comprehensive Action that convened in Washington, DC, in March 2014, and included physicians, public health experts, government policy makers, health-care companies, medical research and educational communities, related medical societies and associations, pharmaceutical companies and others, to identify the issues surrounding obesity.
AACE is continuing to educate its members and other allied health professionals about obesity medicine by developing evidence-based guidelines, which are expected to be complete in early 2016. In addition, an Obesity White Paper, continuing medical education programs, and a second consensus conference on obesity are being planned.
The AACE module and accompanying toolkit was introduced on May 13, 2015 during a special session at the AACE 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress.