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Medically Integrated Fitness Complements Clinical Care Pathways

November 02, 2022

Medically integrated fitness is a valid strategy for improving population health and clinical outcomes. Providers support medically integrated fitness centers by referring patients into specialty programming guided by degreed and certified staff. Patients include at-risk, deconditioned populations, those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or arthritis, and people experiencing a life-event such as joint replacement surgery or prenatal care. There are 45 certified medical fitness centers (1) across that U.S. Power Wellness, the nation’s largest institutional fitness management company, manages 14 MFA certified facilities.

A clinical care pathway is an “order set or treatment protocols…that constitute best practice or state of the art for a particular situation.” (2) These sets are designed to improve care efficiency, and when combined with medically integrated fitness, hold the possibility of improving care effectiveness. Payors and providers both initiate care pathways. Both are focused on reducing variability, quality improvement, and cost management, as in many cases the most clinically appropriate treatment is the lower-cost treatment.

Medically integrated fitness complements clinical care pathways by offering people a doable way to start or continue positive health changes (exercise, nutrition, etc). For example, over 24,000 participants have taken advantage of Power Wellness’ MyFitRx® (formerly “Next Steps”) since 2016. MyFitRx® includes ten pathways designed to help improve the level of physical activity in individuals living with chronic disease, managing medical conditions or who need additional support. This is achieved through healthcare provider-based referrals and guided exercise, nutrition, and behavioral change guided by fitness specialists, who hold degrees and nationally accredited certifications in health and fitness:

“…as a doctor, there’s physical therapy, which is awesome, but what do you do after? And what about the patients who don’t qualify for physical therapy? I need a safe place I can send patients to exercise, and I need a place that has programs suited to their needs…that’s exactly what we [do] at our medically integrated fitness center…” – Dr. Aaron Mickelfelder, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center

To learn more about how medically integrated fitness complements clinical pathways and how to implement medically integrated fitness programming at your hospital-based fitness center, contact Power Wellness at 630.570.2600.

(1) www.medicalfitness.org

(2) https://www.hmpgloballearningnetwork.com/site/jcp/article/what-do-we-mean-when-we-talk-about-clinical-pathways