why are doctors and patients excited about p.r.e.p. at acac?
Doctors and patients are excited about p.r.e.p.®, acac‘s physician referred exercise program because it connects the dots between treatment and daily life. With p.r.e.p.®, healthcare providers and medical fitness professionals come together to help patients improve their health, one step at a time. What is story behind the p.r.e.p.® program and how successful is it?
p.r.e.p. at a glance
- 29,000 p.r.e.p.® participants since the program’s founding
- more than 1,000 different referring practitioners
- An average weight loss of 2.3 pounds during the program
- An average decrease in systolic blood pressure of 9.06mm Hg for participants who started p.r.e.p.® with an increased SBP of 130 or greater
- An average decrease in diastolic blood pressure 8.04mm Hg for participants who started p.r.e.p.® with an increased DBP of 85 or greater
The history of p.r.e.p®
The medical community and most of the general public acknowledge that exercise and regular physical activity is good for everybody. However, the development of workable, sustainable, collaborative solutions that partner the practitioners of medicine and of fitness has lagged behind. The ideal of getting more people in our communities moving and enjoying the benefits of exercise has proved to be somewhat difficult to achieve.
acac owner Phil Wendel took this difficulty on as a personal and professional challenge. “Medical professionals and fitness professionals know how powerful exercise can be in preventing and treating an array of medical conditions. If we can collaborate to create a new continuum of care, from prevention to treatment, we can positively impact countless lives,” says Wendel.
After seeking expert advice from many quarters, then some trial and learning from experience about what worked best, acac developed the physician referred exercise program, also known as p.r.e.p.®, widely regarded as an unprecedented partnership between medical providers and the fitness and wellness community. How did this evolve? Where is this innovative idea headed?
2004 | acac owner Phil Wendel and a board of medical advisors conceive of an introductory-level exercise program that physicians could prescribe for their patients. They named it 60/60, referring to the 60 days of membership for 60 dollars.
2006 | acac’s medical fitness program evolves into p.r.e.p.® (Physician Referred Exercise Program). The program remains an inexpensive and sound introductory program to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle change.
2010 | U.S. Surgeon General, Regina M. Benjamin, MD, delivers a public address formally asking healthcare organizations to join the Exercise is Medicine initiative. By this time, acac and local physicians have been providing this successful model of wellness for over half a decade.
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) presents Phil Wendel, owner of acac Fitness & Wellness Centers, the John McCarthy Industry Visionary of the Year Award for pioneering the development of medical fitness and wellness programs that address the needs of people with chronic disease or special health concerns.
2011 | Charlottesville’s acac Albemarle Square received certification by the Medical Fitness Association, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. When first certified, acac was one of eleven private clubs nationwide to have achieved this designation. acac Midlothian was the next club to achieve MFA certification.
2012 | p.r.e.p.® has been successfully implemented at all acac clubs and licensed for distribution to other clubs and fitness organizations.
2013 | acac hires a Medical Director, Dr. Gregory Degnan. Dr. Degnan, an orthopedic specialist, oversees, administers and directs acac’s medical programs. The integration of exercise and medicine is still in its infancy, but p.r.e.p.® remains on the forefront.
2014 | p.r.e.p.® expands its offerings by adding patient resources and adding specialty tracks.
- p.r.e.p.® allows any patient with a physician referral to begin a personalized exercise program based on the physician’s recommendations under the supervision of acac’s team of medical fitness experts, which includes nurses, physical therapists and exercise physiologists.
- 60 days of acac membership for $60
- Full club access
- Two small group training and cardio sessions per week
- Nurse and nutritionist on site
- Each session includes 30 minutes of cardio AND 30 minutes of resistance training
- Educational videos on nutrition, health, wellness and exercise
- More feedback for physicians about their patients
- New specialty tracks for aquatic exercise, Pre/Post Natal, and p.r.e.p.®(are) for Surgery (Joint Replacement)
- Regular measurement of biometrics
- A dedicated medical director to meet physician and patient needs
- Referral process streamlined
2015 | Because of its demonstrated success, p.r.e.p.® expands to health and wellness facilities nationwide to jumpstart and improve the reach and effectiveness of their medical fitness programs.
Looking towards the future
Phil Wendel and the acac p.r.e.p.® team hope to continue to provide leadership in the fitness industry, and demonstrate that the ideal of serving more community members is an attainable goal.
“It is important for clubs to demonstrate that they are qualified partners in providing active and regular medical oversight for members who desire these services,” says Wendel. “We want medical professionals and their patients to feel comfortable and confident that acac’s members receive the attention and guidance they need to successfully manage or prevent disease,” says Wendel.
Click here for more information about the p.r.e.p.® program.