Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What does ACP have to say about . . .

Medicare physician payment reform?  Medical liability reform?  Performance measures?  Electronic Health Records?   Medicaid expansion?  GME?  Or any of the many other public policy decisions that affect internal medicine and patient care?

Until now, you might have had a hard time finding out.   For years now, ACP has routinely posted all of its position papers, letters to Congress, comments on federal regulations, testimony and other health policy documents on our web site, but you would have had a hard time finding out what we had to say on any specific issue.   Because the College is involved in so many issues, providing policy input in so many different ways, it was very hard to locate any particular document or topic—there were just too many, and the ability to effectively search by topic was limited, at best.

Not anymore.   Earlier this week, ACP launched a total redesign of our site, organizing the content by issue topics and making it easily searchable.  And, we have created a new policy library  that allows searches of public policy documents, as well as clinical and ethical guidelines.  Here are some of the features of the advocacy site redesign that I think will make it particularly useful:

--Three topical, timely and high priority advocacy activities that we think are of greatest interest to members are featured on the landing page and updated regularly to ensure their timeliness and importance.  For instance, the current “spotlight” highlights ACP’s State of the Nation’s Healthcare paper,  released late February, and our newly updated  Internists’ Practical Guide to Understanding Health System Reform.

--On the advocacy landing page, you can click on any one of four tabs to get more information:

Where We Stand, which provides an inclusive link to ACP’s advocacy communications (letters to Congress, testimony, comments on regulations, and policy papers), sorted by eight topics: Affordable Care Act/Access to Care, Medical Liability Reform, Workforce, Medicare reform, Medicaid reform, Physician Payment/Delivery System Reform,  Health Information Technology, and Federal Budget /Appropriations.  Click on any of those topics, and you will see a comprehensive (and constantly updated) list of documents relating to ACP advocacy on that topic.

Advocates for Internal Medicine Network, which provides a link to information about ACP’s grass roots advocacy program (including how to sign up) and our latest Legislative Action Center alert on what members can do to influence an upcoming action in Congress.

State Health Policy, which provides links to resources on public policy issues arising in the states, especially relating to state implementation of the ACA.

Advocacy in Action, which provides links to advocacy events organized by ACP, such as our Leadership Day on Capitol Hill and our policy-related press briefings.

Current Public Policy Papers, also organized by issue.  These are the official policy papers approved by ACP’s Board of Regents, the basis for all of our other advocacy communications and activities.  Think of them as representing our Bible of Internal Medicine public policy.

If clicking on these four tables doesn’t get you exactly what you are looking for, you can search for a document by clicking on the ACP Policy and Recommendations library.  The library enables you to search for documents by key words and search terms, similar to how you would do a regular Google search. You can use filter settings to limit your search by date and type of document (e.g. clinical guideline, policies, testimony, letters to officials).  For instance, if you entered “SGR” as a search word, 118 documents show up; if you limit your search only to ACP “policies” relating to the SGR, 24 documents show up.

The site has other cool features: a policy compendium that summarizes ALL of ACP’s current policies, by topic (just the policies, without the background information, analysis, and references that are included in the actual position papers themselves).  And, this blog is prominently featured on the main advocacy landing page!

If you spend even a few minutes on the redesigned advocacy site, I think you will be amazed at the breadth and depth of the issues that the College has addressed.  (If there is an issue an ACP member is concerned about, it almost certainly has been addressed by the College!).  But the site isn’t just for ACP members: journalists, health policy analysts, members of Congress and their staff, and federal agency officials will now find it much easier to know what the ACP has to say.

So next time, someone asks you “What does ACP have to say about Nurse Practitioners and Primary Care” or any other issue that is on their mind. . . you will know where to get the answer. 

Give the new site and policy library a test drive and let us know what you think. 

Today’s question: what do you think about ACP’s redesigned advocacy page and policy library?


DrJHO7 said...

Bravo! The content is far more in depth than I had anticipated, easily searchable (a departure from previous portions of the acp website), nicely color coded information source types. What a tremendous resource for acp members - I am assuming it is a members only benefit??

BDoherty said...

Glad to hear that DrJHO7 found the redesign to be valuable! It isn't a member-only benefit, because as much as we want to help keep our own membership informed, we also want the politicians, think tanks, journalists and others who influence policy to also be able to readily search for and locate ACP's positions on a given issue.