March 07, 2013

NICHQ and Avalere Health Assist the PHA to Incorporate Healthy Weight Plans into Electronic Medical Records

Washington, D.C. – Avalere Health LLC and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) today as PHA announced the commitment of three electronic health record (EHR) companies to incorporate healthy weight plans in their core products. This commitment demonstrates the companies’ engagement in the campaign to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity. Leaders from the major health care professional organizations had called on EHR companies to make such a commitment at a meeting late last spring. Senior representatives from these organizations were present at the announcement to applaud the vendors’ commitment and begin planning how to help their members use this new capability.

Healthy weight plans are documents jointly developed by families and their primary care providers that specify which health behaviors—diet, physical activity, television watching and the like—families will seek to improve, and how they will do it. NICHQ has played a central role in the development of Healthy Weight Plans over the past few years. Embedding these plans, along with the tools needed to develop them, in electronic health record systems will make it easier for doctors to routinely create them and also make them accessible for review when patients return.

“Analyses by Avalere and others show that childhood obesity is rapidly increasing and poses a looming public health threat,” said Dan Mendelson, CEO and founder of Avalere Health. “Incorporating healthy weight plans into EHR platforms will enable providers and families to better understand and respond to reduce childhood obesity.”

“In our portfolio of healthy weight projects, we’ve seen the success teams have had in supporting and tracking health outcomes by customizing healthy weight measures into their unique EHR systems,” says NICHQ’s Obesity Program Director Shikha Anand, MD, MPH. “Once vendors pre-populate healthy weight plans and measures into the standard software package, this successful tactic has the ability to spread much faster.”

PHA is the private sector organization that partners with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. The EHR companies highlighted in today’s announcement are Cerner Corporation, GE Healthcare, and Physicians Computer Company.

“This plan will include the tools providers need to recognize which kids are at risk for childhood obesity, capture relevant data to track at-risk patients, generate practical goals for patients and families to pursue between visits, provide information about community resources, and present data to patients and families in a way they can understand and use. No longer will these issues be triaged; instead they will be prioritized, flagged, emphasized. And what will result is practical information that families and doctors can use,” said PHA President and CEO Larry Soler.


The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, go to and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.

Avalere Health is an advisory services company whose core purpose is to create innovative solutions to complex healthcare problems. Based in Washington DC, the firm delivers research, analysis, insight, and strategy for leaders in healthcare business and policy. Avalere's experts span 170 staff drawn from the federal government (e.g., CMS, OMB, CBO, and the Congress), Fortune 500 healthcare companies, top consultancies, and nonprofits. The firm offers deep substance in areas ranging from healthcare coverage and financing to the changing role of evidence in healthcare decision-making. Its focus on strategy is supported by a rigorous, in-house analytic research group that uses public and private data to generate quantitative insight. Through events, publications, and interactive programs, Avalere also translates real-time healthcare developments into actionable information. For more information about Avalere Health, go to

NICHQ (the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality) is an independent, nonprofit organization working for more than a decade to make children’s health and healthcare better through quality improvement. NICHQ helps healthcare professionals, foundations, government agencies, and community organizations make meaningful and sustainable system improvements, so the children they serve can achieve their optimal health. For more information about NICHQ, go to