NCQA White Paper Recommends Diabetes Care Overhaul

Paper Composed Collaboratively by Diabetes Expert Panel, Funded by Helmsley Charitable Trust

Washington, D.C., UNITED STATES


WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new white paper released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and titled Digital Quality Summit White Paper: Rethinking Diabetes Care in the Digital Age calls for improved protocols to boost the quality of diabetes care across the country. The recommended upgrades were collectively authored by a cohort of diabetes, primary care and digital measurement experts gathered late last year at NCQA's Digital Quality Summit. Coordination and release of the paper are generously funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The International Diabetes Center, HealthPartners Institute (IDC) was part of the Digital Quality Summit program development and facilitation team.

The experts identified several areas for improvement in type 1 and type 2 diabetes care. They include:

  • Integrating continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) as a quality performance metric. 
  • Addressing patients' behavioral health and social needs to improve outcomes. 
  • Promoting precision response to diabetes distress — screens, assessment and intervention. 
  • Leveraging digital technology to collect the right data, at the right time, for the right patient across clinical settings. 

NCQA expects the recommendations to inform upgrades to its own Diabetes Recognition Program that identifies high-performing primary care clinicians and practices. 

"We've seen diabetes care evolve very rapidly over the past few years with rapidly advancing clinical care and technology," said Margaret E. O'Kane, NCQA President. "So, it only made sense that we recruit these experts from across the healthcare spectrum to help us recommend advancements in performance measurement and improve clinical outcomes even further."

Experts convened at the Digital Quality Summit during five separate sessions to discuss "Rethinking Diabetes Care in the Digital Age." Discussion topics included Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), diabetes distress, digital measurement and measure concepts related to diabetes care, optimal care for individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, NCQA's own Diabetes Recognition Program, and more. 

"Diabetes is a complex condition to manage and it's different for each patient, so the best clinical care needs to be tailored," said Richard M. Bergenstal, MD, Executive Director of IDC. "Fortunately, we now have many technologies to help do that. It's our responsibility as clinicians to leverage these evidence-based tools to better support our patients."

Diabetes is a persistent issue in American healthcare. Nearly 11.3% of the American population, or 37.3 million people, are believed to have diabetes, not including 96 million adults deemed prediabetic. Racial and ethnic minorities continue to develop type 1 and type 2 diabetes at higher rates than whites. Since 2011, type 1 diabetes has significantly increased among Asian and Pacific Islanders, as well the overall youth population of America, especially in Black and Hispanic children.  

"Our single most important criterion for funding any project or initiative is that it must have the potential for significant impact," said Laurel Koester, MPH, Program Officer for Helmsley's Type 1 Diabetes Program. "There has never been a more opportune time to collect and benefit from patient data, or a more dire need for behavioral health support. This white paper represents the first step towards an upgraded performance measurement ecosystem in diabetes that has the potential to change diabetes care as we know it." 

For more details, download Digital Quality Summit White Paper: Rethinking Diabetes Care in the Digital Age from the NCQA website. 

For More Information: 
Matt Brock 
202-955-1739
brock@ncqa.org  

About NCQA 

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA Accredits and Certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA's website (ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make informed health care choices. NCQA can also be found on Twitter @ncqa, on Facebook at facebook.com/NCQA.org/ and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ncqa.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program is one of the largest private foundation funders of T1D in the nation focused on understanding the disease, developing better treatments, and improving care and access in the U.S. and low- and middle-income countries. For more information on Helmsley and its programs, visit helmsleytrust.org.

About International Diabetes Center (IDC)

IDC provides world-class diabetes care, education, publications and research that supports people with diabetes and their families. It is part of HealthPartners Institute, which annually conducts more than 400 research studies and trains more than 700 medical residents and fellows and 1,200 medical and advanced practice students. Its integration with HealthPartners' hospitals, clinics and health plan strengthens the Institute's ability to discover and develop evidence-based solutions and translate them into practice. Based in Minneapolis, the Institute's work impacts care, health and well-being across the region and nation as well as internationally. Visit healthpartnersinstitute.org for more information.

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