Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report singling out 12 topic areas and indicators as immediate, major health concerns that should be monitored and 24 objectives that warrant priority attention in the implementation of Healthy People 2020. Included in IOM's recommendations is "healthy behaviors," a topic area that includes a specific objective of importance to physical therapists (PTs) -- increasing the proportion of adults who meet current federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity. The remaining 11 indicators are access to care, chronic disease, quality of health care services, injury, environmental determinants, social determinants, mental health, responsible sexual behavior, substance abuse, tobacco use, and healthy births.
Healthy People 2020, US Department of Health and Human Services' master plan for improving the health of the American population over the next decade, covers 42 topics and nearly 600 objectives. PTs are specifically mentioned in "Older Adults" topic regarding efforts to increase the number of health care providers with geriatric certification. The inclusion of PTs was a direct result of APTA's interaction with Healthy People and official comments sent last year.
IOM's report also updates and expands on the 10 leading health indicators that served as priorities for Healthy People 2010. The recommendations on what should be the priorities for the latest version of this decadal health plan reflect the consensus of a committee comprising population health experts, epidemiologists, health statisticians, and others. Indicators provide yardsticks that health experts and policymakers can use to measure progress, and objectives set out clear, concrete goals for improvements.