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clinical practice guidelines, diabetes, performance improvement



  1. McCraw, Wendy M.
  2. Kelley, Patricia Watts
  3. Righero, Anna M.
  4. Latimer, Renee


Background: A multidisciplinary, multifaceted approach to disease management that incorporates the health system, the provider, and the patient is supported in the literature. There was a need to improve patient outcomes to meet or to exceed the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) benchmarks for the management of patients with diabetes.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to implement a process improvement effort using practice guidelines on the basis of an evidence-based practice model for the management of type II diabetes mellitus at two primary care clinics at two military medical facilities in Hawaii.


Methods: A retrospective review of charts, electronic records, and system data revealed that the clinics used as project sites were not compliant with established guidelines for diabetes management. After a literature review and an analysis of the current processes, a multidisciplinary care delivery model was developed and implemented to identify spheres of influence involving all members of the diabetes management team and the tasks that influenced patient outcomes.


Results: Improvements were seen for more than 6 months of initial practice change, including compliance with annual glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), lipid, blood pressure, and foot checks. At Site 1, HEDIS measures increased for adequately controlled HbA1c and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from 80% to 85% and from 49% to 58%, respectively. Site 2 showed an increase in adequate control of HbA1c from 77% to 79% at 6 months. After a steady increase in compliance, the percentage for adequately controlled LDL dropped to 56% at 9 months. At Site 1, HEDIS measures decreased slightly to 82% for HbA1c control and to 54% for LDL control at the 9-month mark.


Discussion: Inconsistent delivery of care and lack of staff and patient involvement influenced process outcomes. There were challenges with database accuracy, adequate staffing, computer software upgrades, and overseas site locations. Annual foot examinations showed the largest improvement over time. Site 1 had a significant increase in filament testing because of an innovative strategy to develop a competency program to educate technicians to perform the assessment during the patient check-in process. Sustainability is needed to improve overall patient quality and patient safety and to decrease variation in care among medical treatment facilities over time.