Diabetes is one of the most serious health concerns today, placing physical, emotional and economic burdens on every aspect of society. Additionally, there is clear evidence of healthcare inequities among racial groups. For example, individuals from African-American, American Indian / Alaska Native, Hispanic, or Asian backgrounds are significantly more likely to have diabetes than individuals who identify as White Non-Hispanic. Individuals living in rural areas also have a higher likelihood of having diabetes.
Diabetes self-management education (DSME) uses an evidence-based intervention for empowering persons with diabetes to take an active role in controlling their disease by acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent/lessen the severity of complications.
Diabetes self-management education (DSME), specifically Stanford University’s Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), is an evidence-based intervention for empowering persons with diabetes to take an active role in controlling their disease by acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent/lessen the severity of complications. Small-group workshops are held for 2.5 hours once a week for six weeks, facilitated by two leaders, one or both of whom are peer leaders with diabetes themselves who have successfully completed the 24-hour leader training.
With funding from CMS, Qualis Health took action to increase access to DSME and reduce disparities by expanding the workshops across the state in partnership with 25 community organizations. These workshops were particularly targeted to Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes who belong to racial and minority ethnic groups and/or reside in rural areas. Qualis Health built partnerships with a variety of community agencies to increase the number of Medicare beneficiaries in disparate populations completing the DSMP workshop, resulting in a stronger infrastructure to support improved care and reduce health inequities.
Qualis Health trained over 39 lay leaders to expand the reach of DSME into underserved communities. These lay leaders have gone on to provide the diabetes workshop to over 750 individuals. Internal participant-reported data showed that within 6 months of completing the workshop, individuals who participated in DSME workshops felt more empowered to manage their diabetes-related care in comparison to before the workshop.
For this work, Qualis Health earned an honorable mention in the Wellness/Prevention category of the 2017 DecisionHealth Platinum Awards, a program highlighting the innovations and leadership of healthcare organizations that are creating better ways to bring quality care to patients and populations.