A1c is an important metric used to measure how well a patient is managing their diabetes. NYC Health + Hospitals are showing how important A1c management is to patients. Learn how they’re setting an example for healthcare clinics and practices across the globe in this blog.
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In New York, nearly 1M people have diabetes, and 19% are undiagnosed. In addition, overweight or obese people and those living in low-poverty neighborhoods are twice as likely as other adults to develop diabetes.
Typical medical costs for those with diabetes are about $16,752 per year, with about $9,601 of this being for diabetes management. Meaning those with diabetes who cannot afford treatment are risking major health complications such as blindness, kidney disease, and lower extremity amputations.
NYC Health + Hospitals Makes Efforts to Reduce the Diabetes Burden and Improve Treatment of Patients with Diabetes in 2021
In 2021, to reduce the diabetes burden in their state, healthcare facilities such as NYC Health + Hospitals began an expansion of diabetes services, which included integrating an additional 36 pharmacists to help patients manage their medications, more teleretinal machines, and peer mentoring for patients with diabetes for better overall treatment and management.
On top of these efforts, NYC Health + Hospitals' "nurses and outreach staff contact over 1,000 patients each month with high blood pressure or diabetes to keep them engaged in primary care, with a focus on patients who are uncontrolled and do not have an upcoming visit scheduled."
NYC Health + Hospitals Improve Diabetes Treatment with Better A1c Management
At the end of 2022, NYC Health + Hospitals announced that as a result of their efforts to increase support and efforts for diabetes treatment, it reached the highest-ever rate of A1c control among roughly 64,000 primary care patients with diabetes.
According to their announcement, more than "two-thirds (68.0%) of patients with diabetes have an A1c level, or blood sugar level, below 8%, meaning their diabetes is at or near goal, and only 16.5% of patients have significantly uncontrolled diabetes with an A1c level over 9%, the system's lowest ever rate."
In addition to improved A1c levels of patients with diabetes, the NYC Health + Hospitals system increased teleretinal screenings by 20% from 2021 to the end of 2022. Teleretinal screenings are conducted annually to help catch diabetic retinopathy in diagnosed patients. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. among adults between the ages of 20 and 74. Increasing the amount of teleretinal screenings in systems can help minimize the number of patients who develop diabetic retinopathy and blindness.
What can other healthcare practices and professionals learn from NYC Health + Hospitals improved A1c management in patients with diabetes?
Practices and facilities in other parts of the country can follow NYC Health + Hospitals' suit and improve their diabetes management programs by integrating the following:
Clinical pharmacists can improve the treatment of patients with diabetes by helping them manage their medications.
Primary care facilities should offer teleretinal screenings as part of a regular visit for patients with diabetes rather than having the patient create a separate ophthalmology appointment.
Let your patients have peer mentors (people who manage their diabetes and are trained to help other patients).
Consider recommending patients to your facility's apps (if existing) or create a new one to help provide coaching, reminders, support and educational tools to help patients manage and monitor their diabetes.
Text-based programs can ensure quicker response time for patients in need of help.
In-Person Educational Support
Primary care facilities can offer diabetes classes, one-on-one sessions, and patient support groups for patients with diabetes to help guide them in managing their condition.
With these tips and tricks, your healthcare facility could be making leaps, and strides like NYC Health + Hospitals was able to do in only a year!
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