The use of an electronic patient database – known as an electronic registry -- is helping improve the health of diabetic New Yorkers under care at New York City’s public hospitals. Recent data pulled from the database indicates a significant additional number of patients have achieved healthy levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol -- the three leading indicators for patients with diabetes.
"We were early adopters of electronic health records, and now we have been able to harness the technology's power to help manage diabetes more effectively," said HHC President Alan D. Aviles.
More than 20,000 diabetic patients under care at an HHC hospital in 2008 achieved Hemoglobin A1c levels of less than 7. That’s approximately 5,000 more patients with healthy blood sugar levels than in 2007. More than 20,000 patients -- just over 40% -- met the healthy blood pressure goal of 130/80 compared to 37.6% the year before. And almost 27,000 patients -- nearly 55% -- registered healthy cholesterol levels, measured by LDL levels under 100 mg, compared to 53.8% the year before.
HHC has more than 50,000 diabetic patients in its electronic registry. Using this comprehensive patient data, clinical teams can closely monitor each patient, give more targeted, evidence-based treatment, and identify patients who need more support in their self management efforts. The registry provides a real-time "snapshot" of each diabetic patient's health status, automatically alerts doctors to ensure patients receive annual foot and eye exams, and allows physicians to compare their patients' results to the results achieved by physician colleagues with their diabetic patients.
"Effective implementation of health information technology can reach beyond the obvious advantages of a paperless system. It can help improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs associated with poorly-managed chronic disease," Aviles added.
HHC diabetic patient outcomes exceed both state and national averages of managed care plan patients, according to data by the New York State Department of Health and the National Committee for Quality.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects nearly 24 million Americans and is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness and lower extremity amputation. It is also a prime contributor to heart disease and stroke, one of the reasons why it is especially important to control the blood pressure and cholesterol of diabetic patients.
HHC's innovative diabetes management programs also support patient efforts in self-management, through counseling programs focused on diet and exercise. One example is WeCOACH, a program which matches adults over 65 with uncontrolled diabetes with a Peer Coach who supports them through a 6-week exercise and wellness program. The program is a collaboration between HHC and the NYC Department for the Aging.
Health outcomes for diabetic patients in all HHC hospitals can be viewed on the HHC In Focus portion of our web site at nyc.gov/hhc.