BTSD HONORS TIRELESS WORK TO CONTROL HYPERTENSION
Lowering the number of heart attacks and strokes and controlling diabetes takes innovation, collaboration and sustained effort over time, all amid a demanding healthcare environment.
Be There San Diego honored seven healthcare organizations for their outstanding work in reaching those goals, as measured by national performance standards. Dr. Christine Thorne, the medical director, presented the awards at the Nov. 6 meeting of the University of Best Practices.
The organization bestowed Awards of Excellence to Arch Health Partners, Family Health Centers, Health Center Partners, Scripps Coastal, Scripps Clinic, Sharp Rees-Stealy and UCSD Health. These organizations reached ambitious national control measure benchmarks in the care management of patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In addition, BTSD named Dr. Allen Fremont of RAND Corporation and his team as Heart Health Champions for their years-long contributions to BTSD’s Data for Quality Group, which tracks progress on intermediate outcomes such as blood pressure control. Dr. Fremont’s team has collaborated with BTSD since its inception, collecting, analyzing and reporting on data to inform clinical efforts to manage cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
At the meeting, Jan Sebring shared how Family Health Centers is meeting key performance goals to control diabetes, as measured by the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), a standardized set of measures for quality of care. She’s a nurse practitioner and clinical applications coordinator at the organization, the second largest community health system in the country, serving more than 155,000 patients annually.
She said that the organization has developed a multi-disciplinary approach that involves physicians, nurses, registered dietitians, mental health professionals, health educators, optometrists, podiatrists, among other specialists, all working in concert to control a patient’s diabetes. She noted that the recent addition of an endocrinologist to the care team has led to significant success in treating the highest-risk patients.
Family Health Centers provides care in English, Spanish and other languages, including Arabic, underscoring the importance of working within a patient’s culture to effect change, she said.
Sebring has worked in the medical field for nearly 40 years, and has seen diabetes grow to be an “overwhelming” problem.
“We’re even starting to see children with Type 2 diabetes because of their obesity,” she said.
The healthcare field “is starting to get a handle” on the crisis, she said, but sees a long road ahead in treating it.
“It’s more than just medication,” she said. “It’s a lifestyle change that is very difficult for patients. Changing their lifestyle takes a change in mindset in the patient and a lot of persistence from the providers.”