This article originally appeared in invision, a magazine
published for staff at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
|Mary and Ralph Brosnahan regularly attend diabetes
group visits at Hahnemann Family Health
Eight thousand adult diabetic
patients are now more active in managing their disease thanks to the Diabetes
Collaborative Project underway at 17 primary care and specialty practices. More
than 60 percent of outpatient visits for adults with diabetes occur in the
primary care setting, making it the perfect site to improve treatment of the
According to project leader Ronald Adler, MD, director for primary care
practice improvement for the Center for the Advancement of Primary Care, the
pilot helps clinical teams "work smarter, not harder" by rethinking office
processes. Nurses and medical assistants, for example, take a more active role
in checking in and preparing diabetes patients for appointments, which allows
physicians more quality time with patients.
Group visits have been successfully introduced at some sites, allowing
providers to address health issues with several patients and families at a time.
Ralph and Mary Brosnahan, regular Hahnemann Family Health Center group
attendees, enjoy the variety of topics and question and answer format of monthly
sessions. "I've gotten dozens of tips since I started attending the group. It
helps me get on with my life by keeping my diabetes under control," said Mr.
Some practices are using patient questionnaires during visits to better track
the progression of the disease. Monthly newsletters and diabetes care cards are
also distributed at collaborative locations. "Each practice has adapted the
pilot concept to best suit its needs and shares successes with other sites,"
said Michael Burdulis, MD, Shrewsbury Family Practice.
Although the program is a work in progress, it has been a success. "We hope
that the collaborative will help patients recognize that they have the most
important role in managing their diabetes," said Dr. Adler.