2011 Measurement Reveals Positive Trends
The Health Collaborative’s 2011 analysis of diabetes care in Greater Cincinnati reveals patients of the nearly 500 doctors reporting their diabetes result to the Health Collaborative are showing improvement in their ability to control their disease. The community average increased from 28-percent of patients considered in control of their diabetes in 2010 to 30-percent in 2011. The two-point increase means that 13,500 diabetes patients of the nearly 45,000 in the reporting practices, are considered in control of diabetes. Approximately 900 more patients are now in control than compared to the previous year.
The Health Collaborative looks at five factors, known as the D5, that are recognized markers of optimal diabetes control. Nearly 500 local physicians are participating in the analysis by voluntarily providing de-identified patient data on these five measures. The analysis by the Health Collaborative provides specific results on diabetes control for each reporting physician practice, as well as a community-wide score that serves as a benchmark. All results are displayed on the health information website, YourHealthMatters.org.
“Doctors want to do the best job they can for their patients and we are finding when doctors can see where they stand compared to their peers, many are motivated to improve,” said Dr. Barbara Tobias, Medical Director of the Health Collaborative.
In addition to the two-point increase in the community score, some individual practices achieved increases as high as 20-percent. A review of the highest performing practices revealed most had been participating in some kind of quality improvement initiative. The Health Collaborative has been a leader in providing quality improvement strategies to primary care doctors. Over the past two years, the Health Collaborative has led three ongoing programs for physician groups that include group learning sessions and one-on-one coaching in the office setting. The Health Collaborative also provides technical assistance to two hospital systems launching quality improvement programs in their system-owned practices. The Health Collaborative’s program teaches proven models for improvement, such as Lean and Six Sigma, adapted for use in a medical office settings by our pioneering improvement expert, Ronda Christopher.
According to Dr. Tobias, the data suggests the combination of being transparent about medical outcomes and putting systems in place to drive improvement is a powerful. It increases the quality of life for patients with diabetes and has a large impact on the overall cost of care now and into the future. “We know that patients in control of their diabetes have fewer complications,” said Tobias. “Fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, reduced risk of kidney failure and more. For patients with diabetes, the key to a longer, healthier life is working with their doctors to keep the D5 well managed.”
Greg Ebel, executive director of the Health Collaborative notes, the improvement is a bright spot in what had been a gloomy national forecast for diabetes care. “We are proving that if a community collaborates around proactive steps to improve health and health care, you can bend the curve and generate results that save lives and preserve health care dollars.”