Collaborative Diabetes Model Saves Health Costs
How a diabetes clinic that includes a collaboration between an endocrinologist and a pharmacist can produce thousands of dollars in health-care savings.
A collaborative diabetes clinic that includes pharmacists is reducing health-care costs by more than $5,000 for type 2 diabetes patients, according to a new study.
The Diabetes Intensive Medical Management (DIMM) clinic, managed as a collaboration between a pharmacist and an endocrinologist with the help of pharmacy students, is a project of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. They run the clinic for complex type 2 diabetes patients at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.
"This is a good example of ‘team-based care’—an approach that’s becoming more common in health-care systems today," said Jan Hirsch, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Division of Clinical Pharmacy at Skaggs and Clinical Pharmacist Specialist at the VA facility.
Hirsch and Candis Morello, PharmD, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Skaggs, led the project and co-authored the study, which was published in the March, 2017 issue of the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy.
Diabetes cost the United States an estimated $245 billion in 2012, through both direct medical costs and reduced productivity. To help reduce these costs, the researchers compared 99 DIMM clinic patients to 56 type 2 diabetes patients who saw their primary care providers an average of two times over six months.
Both groups were patients at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, were primarily non-Hispanic males, and were an average of 62 years old. The collaborative care team provided personalized medication therapy management and patient-specific diabetes education in one-hour visits. DIMM patients typically attend the clinic three times over six months.
Up next: The results of the study and what researchers learned from it