July 10, 2012
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New diabetes model uses patient-reported outcomes to deliver effective health care

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Using patient-reported outcomes, US clinicians could provide more cost-effective treatment options for patients with diabetes, through the new Southeast Minnesota Beacon Program diabetes model.

Created by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Beacon Program merges technology with medicine to improve coordination and delivery of health care through patient-reported outcomes. The model was presented recently at the third annual conference of the Health Data Initiative in Washington, D.C.

“We have compiled substantial evidence that [patient-reported outcomes] are indeed credible targets for diabetes assessment and intervention,” Jeff Sloan, PhD, a health sciences researcher at Mayo Clinic, said in a press release. “In fact, we have shown that the scientific value of many [patient-reported outcomes] is actually superior to many commonly used laboratory and clinical outcome variables.”

Sloan led a team that developed the new diabetes care model in which patient-reported outcomes use particular interventions specifically geared toward improving patients’ quality of life. The website can be accessed via smartphone or computer.

The Southeast Minnesota Beacon Program created the model of care in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, Olmsted Medical Center, Winona Health, Allina Health and public health departments in 11 counties.

The model begins with the introduction: “On the next few screens please tell us about a concern that you would like to discuss with your diabetes care team today and answer a few questions about how you are feeling.”

After the introduction are a series of colorful tabs specifically named for concerns patients may have, such as personal relationships, monitoring health, emotional health, money, health behaviors, medicine, getting health care, work or physical health.

When clicked, each will open a checklist, followed by a well-being scale. The entire process takes about 1 minute, and responses are shared electronically with the patients’ doctor. The data are also accessible to county health departments to encourage continuous care in the home.

“It is about time we were asked about these things beyond just glucose levels,” one participating patient said in the release.