System-wide efforts show improvement in diabetes care
From Spotlight on Health - Fall 2009
When Sharon Waverek, 67, of Becker, was diagnosed with diabetes in April 1998, she denied it. A simple urine test during her annual physical showed an elevated blood sugar level. Because she hadn’t fasted that morning, she questioned the results. A repeat test a few days later confirmed the findings.
Waverek is not alone. Many people don’t feel any differently when they are first diagnosed with diabetes, so they don’t believe anything is wrong.
Until June 2009, Waverek was able to monitor her diabetes with medication. Now she takes insulin, swims daily and joined a local weight loss program to help control her weight and her diabetes. She also sees Paul Spinner, MD, CentraCare Clinic - Becker, every three months — or more often as needed — to monitor her progress.
“Dr. Spinner and the staff are great. They answer all my questions and he takes plenty of time with me when I come in,” Waverek said.
In January, CentraCare Clinic started a quality improvement project to improve diabetes care. Each site selected a physician-led team, which meets monthly with nine other clinic teams to share ideas for improving care. Each team takes the information and action plans to its own site for implementation as appropriate.
With regular monitoring, CentraCare Clinic staff and physicians help patients control their diabetes with five guidelines:
- Do not smoke;
- Take aspirin daily (unless medically unadvised);
- Maintain a good blood pressure (128/78 or lower);
- Maintain a healthy cholesterol level (less than 100);
- Control blood sugar (A1C lab less than 7-8%).
The Becker site was the leader for CentraCare Clinic in meeting the five guidelines for patients with diabetes. All sites have seen an improvement in these areas, which demonstrates how working together helps give patients such asWaverek the best possible outcomes.
“These results show how our team efforts can really make a difference,” said David Tilstra, MD, medical director, CentraCare Clinic. “It has been a great motivator for our staff as well.”