Since last fall, the AOA has been working with Eli Lilly and Company to develop educational materials for physicians on the importance of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
“This partnership has enabled Lilly to support the AOA’s efforts to provide educational Alzheimer’s resources and tools tailored to the needs of its members,” says Tom Corya, a director of global advocacy and professional relations at Lilly. “This approach ensures that content is built by and for osteopathic physicians.”
The goal of the project, which is partially funded by Lilly, is to create educational modules as well as a central repository of Alzheimer’s resources for physicians. So far, a project advisory panel composed of five physicians and three PhD researchers has created the three modules, which together represent a two-hour educational presentation for physicians.
The presentation advises physicians on how to talk with patients about Alzheimer’s disease, as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. It also provides information on caregiving, housing options and legal issues.
The presentation is a good refresher course for primary care physicians, who are on the front lines of detecting and diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, says neurologist Nicole Danner, DO, MS, a member of the advisory panel.
“With all the expectations on primary care physicians, there’s just not enough time in the day to do absolutely everything,” she says. “The presentation was designed to raise awareness that we need to be thinking about Alzheimer’s disease when we treat patients, whether it’s their primary complaint or not.”
Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer’s Association. As baby boomers continue to age, the number of Alzheimer’s patients is poised to increase dramatically in the coming years—the Alzheimer’s Association says it may triple by 2050.
Over the next several months, the AOA and Lilly plan to share the presentation at ROME New England and other medical conferences, and will present information about the project during a breakfast meeting at OMED.
They presentation will be refined based on physician response and will ultimately be used to build interactive educational modules, with launch anticipated in late 2016.