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Improving comprehensive care for patients with diabetes
  1. Tamar L Kutz1,
  2. Jameson M Roszhart1,
  3. Marshall Hale2,
  4. Virginia Dolan2,
  5. Gerald Suchomski2,
  6. Cassie Jaeger3
  1. 1 Ambulatory Networks, Memorial Health System, Springfield, Illinois, USA
  2. 2 Memorial Physician Services, Memorial Health System, Springfield, Illinois, USA
  3. 3 Department of Operations Improvement, Memorial Medical Center, Springfield, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Mrs.  Tamar L Kutz; kutz.tamar{at}


Patients with diabetes require access to systematic and ongoing care delivered by a team of healthcare providers. Despite national attention and well-accepted best practices, diabetic care, blood pressure and haemoglobin A1c (A1c) levels for patients with diabetes in our primary care setting were highly variable and below the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) 75th percentile benchmark. From January 2015 to January 2016, 22% of patients with diabetes in our primary care setting had both blood pressure and A1c levels controlled and 23% had their annual diabetic care bundle completed, which includes A1c and blood pressure measurements, foot examination and nephropathy attention. Lack of standardised care algorithms, electronic health record documentation and education was identified. Lean Six Sigma methodologies were used to re-engineer the care that patients with diabetes receive. Key improvement initiatives focused on standardisation of accepted care practices through electronic templates, education and re-evaluation of patients to make 90-day, rapid cycle changes. Interventions were piloted in one primary care clinic then expanded to eight additional clinics. At the pilot site, the per cent of patients who completed the diabetic care bundle increased from 33% to 71% and the per cent of patients with diabetes with both A1c and blood pressure controlled increased from 31% to 43% (two-proportion test, p<0.01) postintervention. On rollout to eight additional clinics, the per cent of patients who completed the diabetic care bundle increased from 23% to 67% and the per cent of patients with diabetes with both their A1c and their blood pressure controlled increased from 22% to 41% (two-proportion test, p<0.01). After the interventions, nephropathy attention, A1c and blood pressure metrics exceeded HEDIS 75th percentile. Standardisation of accepted care practices for patients with diabetes improved compliance with diabetic care bundle completion and patient outcomes in the primary care setting.

  • chronic disease management
  • diabetes mellitus
  • healthcare quality improvement
  • primary care

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  • Contributors TK: contributed to study design, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting and revising the manuscript and study supervision. JR: contributed to study supervision and strategic oversight. MH, VD and GS: contributed to study design and physician buy-in. CJ: contributed to analysis of data and critical revision of the manuscript. AB, CL, AW, CN and BG: were part of the project team and significantly contributed to the success of the project. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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