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Business coalitions join AHRQ to improve the quality of diabetes care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has formed a new partnership with three of the Nation's leading business coalitions that is designed to help improve the quality of diabetes care within and across communities. The new partnership, Improving Diabetes Care in Communities Collaborative, brings AHRQ together with the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, the MidAtlantic Business Group on Health, and the Memphis Business Group on Health.

The goal of this partnership is to support local communities in their efforts to reduce the rate of obesity and other risk factors that can lead to diabetes and its complications. The partners will work together to ensure that people with diabetes receive appropriate health care services. Nationally, only one-half of patients with diabetes routinely receive recommended health care services, including eye exams, blood sugar (hemoglobin A1c) tests, and foot exams, and this rate has not shown improvement over the last few years, according to data from AHRQ's National Healthcare Quality Report released in January.

Each of the coalitions has convened stakeholders, including businesses, providers, health plans, insurers, consumers, and academics, to set priorities in their efforts to improve diabetes care and develop solutions that fit within the community's needs and capabilities. Cross-cutting strategies for addressing diabetes quality improvement include a return on investment calculator for estimating financial returns from disease management, application of the chronic care model, and an employer guide on managing diabetes care with health plans. The strategies and tools developed under the partnership and any lessons learned will be disseminated broadly for communities around the nation to use in improving the quality of diabetes care.

In 2004, AHRQ, in partnership with the Council of State Governments, developed Diabetes Care Quality Improvement: A Resource Guide for State Action (AHRQ Publication No. 04-0072) and its companion workbook (AHRQ Publication No. 04-0073), both books are designed to help States assess the quality of diabetes care and develop quality improvement strategies. They can be found online at http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/diabqualoc.htm. Printed copies are also available through the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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