Every year diabetes costs the U.S. $98 billion. That's in part because it’s a chronic disease that has to be self-managed by the patient, but a pilot program developed by a researcher at FSU's College of Medicine is increasing the accountability of both the patient and the doctor.
Kindergarten teacher Randy Brookes recently found out she was diabetic. Now she's had to make some changes from testing her blood sugar regularly to diet and exercise.
Randy says, “You have to in your mind decide to change your lifestyle, and it’s not just fixed just like that. I'll have this for the rest of my life.”
Because of this, FSU Medical School professor Dr. Edward Shahady has developed a pilot program in our area.
“Usually seeing a doctor for 15 minutes three times a year isn't enough and diabetes is just a very complex disease that the patient has to manage. I'm the coach and they're the player,” says Dr. Shahady.
The program has two major parts. It requires group visits comprised of 6-10 patients. They receive educational materials and can consult their peers for advice. The other key element is a patient report card.
“We have a goal for them, a goal for cholesterol, flu shots. The idea is let's keep 'em out of the hospital.”
Doctors also receive report cards on themselves, letting them know how well they're taking care of diabetes patients. The pilot program will soon expand from four to 24 physicians.