Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is committed to the belief that exercise and physical activity (PA) are integral to the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. The EIM Solution encourages primary care providers to include PA when designing treatment plans for their patients.
Through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant, the Cabarrus County EIM initiative aims to increase the number of people with access to opportunities for chronic disease prevention, risk reduction, or management through clinical and community linkages from 2014-2017. We will accomplish this by: · Training healthcare teams in the 3-step EIM model and encouraging PA promotion in the clinic. · Training community agencies and allied health professionals (such as nutritionists and case managers) in encouraging PA and providing PA referrals.
· Establishing an EIM Referral Network for Cabarrus County.
The following 3-step model was tailored from the national EIM model to fit the needs of our REACH target population. Implementation is additionally tailored to each EIM site to ensure that it is integrated into the clinic’s existing culture and workflow.
Step 1: Physical Activity Assessment
Consists of a two item questionnaire called the Physical Activity Vital Sign (PAVS) that is administered at every patient visit along with other vital signs such as weight and blood pressure.
Step 2: Physical Activity Prescription
Primary care providers use PAVS responses to determine whether or not the patient is meeting the U.S. National Physical Activity Guidelines. If not, the provider writes an individualized PA prescription. Providers are trained to prescribe appropriate PA doses based on the patient’s health status and current PA level. Walking prescriptions are encouraged as an easy and inexpensive way for patients to reach their exercise goals.
Step 3: Physical Activity Referral
Patients are referred to a healthcare or community-based resource where they can “fill their exercise prescription.” The healthcare team is trained in identifying existing free or low-cost facilities where patients can safely increase their physical activity levels.