In 2007, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) co-launched Exercise is Medicine (EIM) - a United States-based health initiative that has since been coordinated by ACSM. The initial purpose of EIM was to make the scientifically proven benefits of physical activity the standard in the U.S. healthcare system. Within two years of its launch, representatives from international public health, medical and scientific associations asked ACSM to expand its initial scope beyond the United States and begin a multinational collaboration to make EIM a global effort. Thus began the EIM Global Health Initiative and the establishment of the EIM Global Center at ACSM’s National Headquarters in Indianapolis, IN. Currently, there are 7 Regional Centers and 43 National Centers across the globe.
The vision of EIM is to:
- Have healthcare providers assess every patient’s level of physical activity at every clinic visit
- Determine whether or not the patient is meeting the U.S. National Physical Activity Guidelines
- Provide patients with brief counseling to help him/her meet the guidelines and/or refer the patient to either healthcare or community-based resources for further physical activity (PA) counseling.
The EIM Solution is the practical application of integrating physical activity into healthcare provider services and linking patients to evidence-based community programs. The integration of the EIM Solution is achieved through the following steps:
- Embedding a physical activity vital sign (PAVS) into electronic medical records (EMRs)
- Developing a national network of evidence-based PA programs and resources
- Providing a clinical decision support system linking clinical and community, so that HCPs can offer behavioral PA counseling and refer patients to fulfill their PA “prescription” in the community
Three different types of stakeholders are paramount in bringing about the vision of EIM and integrating its scientifically proven benefits into healthcare systems:
The following sections within EIM in Action describe the role of each of these three stakeholders and the interrelationship between them.