Doctor talking to patient

Analysis

Turning the tide on diabetes management

How leaders in health care are using multi-faceted approaches

​Diabetes is a complicated, costly, chronic disease. Many organizations are piloting strategies and programs to better understand diabetes prevention and how to improve care for patients with the disease. Deloitte research identified three common themes in improved diabetes care: Clinical innovation, patient engagement, and financial incentive alignment.

Diabetes is a complicated, costly, chronic disease

​If it were a movie, it would rank among the top 100 US films in box office earnings. If it were a person, its net worth would be more than that of the three richest Americans, combined. If it were a country, its economy would be larger than the nations of Greece, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. At a $245 billion annual cost, the annual cost for diabetes is one of the United States’ biggest and fastest-growing economic burdens.1 Diabetes is also one of the most common chronic conditions globally: According to recent estimates, approximately one in 11 adults has diabetes2 and 12 percent of the total global health expenditure is spent on diabetes ($673 billion).3

Even though many public and private organizations are implementing strategies to better manage type 2 diabetes, only a few appear to be succeeding. Intervention programs—including lifestyle modifications, care model shifts, promotional and educational campaigns, clinical management, and tech-enabled solutions—are plentiful, but their costs and effectiveness vary significantly. Interventions that work in clinical trials may not translate to real life. Still, some organizations appear to be improving outcomes for their patient populations.

We sought to understand what is working for the organizations that have scored well on diabetes quality measures or that have a reputation for innovating in care delivery. We spoke with 14 individuals from health plans, health systems, and Diabetes Centers of Excellence. We targeted respondents from organizations with top ratings in diabetes quality measures (e.g., Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set [HEDIS] measures, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid [CMS] star ratings) or which are considered a Diabetes Center of Excellence.

Our discussions identified three common themes:

  1. Clinical innovation. These organizations are experimenting with clinical care model innovations and incorporating technology into their care management strategies.
  2. Patient engagement. They are partnering with patients and using technology to help patients make lasting changes to their diet, activity level/exercise, and disease management.
  3. Financial incentive alignment. They are incentivizing prevention and care management through value-based payment models and are exploring strategies to deal with the impact of high deductibles for some patients.
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