June 21, 2019
3 min read

Fewer than 15% of patients undergo diabetes screening

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The rate of diabetes screening in the U.S. rose from 2012 to 2015 but still remained below 15%, according to findings recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

The same study also concluded that clinicians mostly prescribed lifestyle changes, such as exercise and a healthy diet, and occasionally metformin to prevent diabetes.

“Treatment of [diabetes mellitus] was estimated to cost $237 billion in direct medical costs and approximately $90 billion due to lost productivity in 2017,” Kayce M. Shealy, PharmD, associate professor and chair, department of pharmacy practice at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina and colleagues wrote. “Identifying patients at risk for developing diabetes mellitus and using effective interventions to prevent diabetes mellitus in those at risk may lead to reduced health care spending by avoiding the costs associated with treating overt diabetes mellitus.”

Researchers utilized National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data to review details of 105,721 office visits of patients without diabetes from 2012 to 2015. All patients aged 45 years and older were included; those younger than 45 years were only included if their BMI was higher than 25 kg/m2 and they had one additional risk factor for diabetes.

They found that the diabetes screening prevalence increased from 10% in 2012 to 13.4% in 2015. In addition, clinicians generally prescribed lifestyle changes modifications, like a healthy diet and exercise, to forestall diabetes. Metformin was the most frequently prescribed diabetes prevention medication.

Shealy suggested ways primary care clinicians can improve diabetes screening rates with Healio Primary Care.

“Encouraging patients to complete the American Diabetes Association’s risk assessment at home prior to coming in or even while waiting to be seen may be helpful. Having these results, in conjunction with a thorough patient history on file, accessible to the provider during the visit itself is key,” she said.

“Utilizing other resources — the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program, the Prevent Diabetes STAT toolkit from the AMA, CDC, American Diabetes Association and the Ad Council — as well as other health care personnel like pharmacists, nurses, social workers, nutritionists and community health workers may also be helpful,” Shealy added. – by Janel Miller

For more information:

The American Diabetes Association’s risk assessment is at: http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/at-risk/ada-risk-test-generic.pdf

The CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program is at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html

The Prevent Diabetes STAT toolkit is at: https://preventdiabetesstat.org/toolkit.html

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.