More than Medicine Blog - GSK
April 7, 2009
Prevention and Intervention in Action
Diabetes is a huge problem in the US, both in terms of health and healthcare spending. For individuals, poorly-managed diabetes can lead to complications such as blindness and limb amputation. For employers, workers with poorly-managed diabetes often require costlier treatments and miss days of work. However, medication adherence is often a challenge for patients with chronic diseases, like diabetes. That's where the Diabetes Ten City Challenge (DTCC) comes in.
The DTCC, conducted by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation with support from GSK, brought employers, pharmacists, and people with diabetes together to improve the health of patients with diabetes while reigning in skyrocketing healthcare costs. Thirty employers in 10 US cities established a voluntary health benefit for employees, dependents and retirees with diabetes.
Employers waived co-payments for diabetes medications and supplies to encourage people to manage their diabetes. Patients worked with local pharmacist "coaches" who helped them track their blood sugar levels and cholesterol, and control their disease through exercise, nutrition and lifestyle changes--and who were compensated for their time. The pharmacists also communicated with the patients' doctors if needed.
Data released yesterday on 573 diabetic patients enrolled in the program for at least 1 year show that average total health care costs were reduced annually by nearly $1100 per patient, or 7.2 percent, compared with projected costs without the DTCC program. Patients also saved an average of $593 per year on their diabetes medications and supplies. Improvements were seen in blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure levels, as well as flu vaccination rates, eye exams, and foot exams.