Exercise is Medicine Solution Aims to Unite Health Care Systems, Fitness Professionals

As part of the Exercise is Medicine Solution physicians can refer their patients to qualified exercise professionals who hold the EIM Professional Credential Photo by Thinkstock
<p>As part of the Exercise is Medicine Solution, physicians can refer their patients to qualified exercise professionals who hold the EIM Professional Credential. (Photo by Thinkstock.)</p>

Exercise is Medicine (EIM), Indianapolis, announced Tuesday a new initiative to bring together fitness professionals, healthcare systems, providers and community resources to better integrate physical activity into American healthcare.

The initiative, the Exercise is Medicine Solution, is comprised of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Medical Fitness Association (MFA). The EIM Solution marks the beginning of the next phase of EIM's strategy, EIM Vice President Adrian Hutber said in a media release. The goal is to engage major health systems and communities, and to work together to improve health and combat chronic diseases by promoting physical activity and fitness.

The layered EIM Solution approach will include physical activity counseling, and prescription and referral strategies, particularly those linking health care and community-based resources, according to the announcement. The ultimate goal of the EIM Solution collaboration is to achieve global targets for inactivity reduction, related morbidity and mortality, and health care costs.

Greenville Health System in South Carolina was recognized during Tuesday's announcement in Washington, DC, as the first to adopt the EIM Solution.

“The EIM initiative and solution align perfectly with GHS’ vision to transform health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve,” Greenville Health System Department of Family Medicine Chair Sean Bryan said in a statement.

Components adopted by the Greenville Health System include:

  • Incorporating Exercise is Medicine as required teaching into all four years of curriculum to educate future physicians on the health benefits of exercise.
  • Incorporating physical activity as a vital sign in their EPIC Electronic Medical Record (EMR).
  • Using EIM Your Prescription for Health patient education material in the EPIC EMR.
  • Employing a full-time EIM coordinator to take patient referrals and work with them to refer to either Greenville Healthcare System Medical Fitness Center or one of the Greenville community YMCA locations.
  • Onboarding coordinator at the YMCA will receive all patient referrals, meet with them for onboarding and assign them to an EIM group physical activity class.

As part of the EIM Solution, physicians can refer their patients to qualified exercise professionals who hold the EIM Professional Credential.

“Fitness professionals are uniquely qualified to help people on a journey of lifestyle change, particularly those with specific training and accredited certifications in health coaching, said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric Bryant. “As one of the largest certifying bodies in the United States, ACE will work with ACSM and MFA to reinforce standards for well-qualified health and fitness professionals that will solidify trust between the medical and fitness communities, for the benefit of patients and consumers.”

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin keynoted Tuesday's announcement at the National Press Club and called prevention "imperative" as more American families struggle to deal with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and strokes.

"Much of the illness and early death related to these chronic diseases can be prevented by increased physical activity," Benjamin said. "The EIM Solution is an innovative approach that, through a prescription, links the medical profession with physical activity professionals and community resources. I commend these organizations for their vision and leadership.”