Technology, Obesity Treatment Highlight Patient-Centered Diabetes Care

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With the news that Medicare will soon pay for diabetes prevention, the 2016 edition of Patient-Centered Diabetes Care, presented by The American Journal of Managed Care, offered up-to-the-minute news on how technology will change the prevention and clinical care models, why ending stigma is key to treating obesity, and what’s ahead in insulin therapy.

The American Journal of Managed Care and Joslin Diabetes Center presented the fourth annual meeting, Patient-Centered DIabetes Care.

From clinical studies that were less than a week old, to game-changing news in reimbursement, our speakers were unmatched in their knowledge of what is happening in diabetes care.

How will technology help Medicare make good on its promise to pay for diabetes prevention? Why is stigma among doctors still a hurdle to obesity treatment, nearly three years after the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease? And how are retail clinics filling gaps in diabetes care?

These were just some of the questions covered during the fourth meeting of Patient-Centered Diabetes Care, which gathered stakeholders from the payer, provider, pharmaceutical, and policy communities April 7-8, 2016, at the Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Conference Chair Robert A. Gabbay, MD, PhD, FACP, chief medical officer and senior vice president of Joslin Diabetes Center, which presented the meeting with AJMC, served as moderator for conference’s first-ever session on obesity treatment. The session addressed reimbursement inequities that patients still encounter—and the fact that many providers are reluctant to give referrals for bariatric surgery.

“If one adds up all the money spent on things that don’t work,” Gabbay said, “We’d probably have money for the things that do work.”

Technology is changing the clinical care model and may change the way we answer questions in diabetes, according to Lonny Reisman, MD, CEO of HealthReveal, who served as keynote speaker. Gathering data from multiple sources will allow questions to be answered quickly and at a lower cost than in the past, said Reisman, formerly of Aetna.

Right now, he said, the healthcare system is not doing a very good job of deploying resources in diabetes care. “We really need to take advantage of what’s available to us, to exploit all these data sources.”

Reisman evoked themes offered just a week earlier by a fellow cardiologist, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD, who told an audience at the 65th Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology that the use of electronic health records could soon change the nature and cost of clinical trials.

In the short term, technology will play a role in Medicare’s ability to bring the National Diabetes Program (NDPP) to the millions of potential beneficiaries, said Mike Payne, chief commercial officer of Omada Health, who was part of a session on the role of technology in diabetes care. Omada is ready to deliver the NDPP now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to paying for the program. “The fact that CMS has taken this step is really encouraging,” he said.

But when it comes to treatment for those who already have diabetes, coverage for telehealth is uneven—even though a project in Mississippi is showing signs of success, according to a panel led by David Brumley, MD, MBA, senior medical director at Tufts Health Plan.

Other sessions covered clinical and healthcare delivery topics, such as new options in insulin treatment, cardiovascular risk for those with diabetes, and the role of retail clinics in meeting the needs of those who lack insurance or cannot make appointments during the day.

“From clinical studies that were less than a week old, to game-changing news in reimbursement, our speakers were unmatched in their knowledge of what is happening in diabetes care,” said Brian Haug, president of Pharmacy and Managed Markets and publisher of The American Journal of Managed Care. “We continue to set the standard in our ability to bring together stakeholders from across healthcare and to offer the most current information in the field.”

Full coverage of the meeting will appear in a special issue of Evidence-Based Diabetes Management later this year.

About the Journals and AJMC.com

The American Journal of Managed Care is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. AJMC.com distributes healthcare news to leading stakeholders across a variety of platforms. Other titles in the franchise include The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary on innovative healthcare delivery models facilitated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s Evidence-Based series brings together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in oncology and diabetes management. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

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