Collaborative Diabetes Care

The AMGA’s Together 2 Goal® campaign has concluded after a five-year. What were the results?

The American Medical Group Association announced this spring that its Together 2 Goal® campaign has concluded after a five-year run. Started in 2016, this initiative challenged participating medical groups and health systems to improve care for 1 million people with Type 2 diabetes. Over 150 medical groups and health systems across 36 states participated, utilizing evidence-based care processes to drive improvement. These groups represent 61,000 FTE physicians treating 2 million patients with Type 2 diabetes. All participants sent quarterly reports to measure progress, while using Together 2 Goal® resources and tools to further efforts.

Improving quality of care and patient outcomes

One of the most significant opportunities this campaign provided was to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes for chronic conditions that have the greatest impact on quality of life, productivity, and costs for Americans, the AMGA said. Together 2 Goal® allowed health systems to track and report the data they collected to benchmark progress and performance against their peers. The highest performers were encouraged to collaborate, share their experiences, and adapt new best practices.

Initially, the Together 2 Goal® campaign was only supposed to last three years, but it is important to establish long-term practices for diabetes management, the AMGA noted. One of the difficulties with diabetes management is the chronic symptoms can become challenging to maintain long-term. Because it is so easy for patients to go in and out of states of ideal diabetes management, the AMGA extended the Together 2 Goal® campaign two years to help groups hardwire their improvements and sustain improved diabetes care.

Four best practices for health systems

1. Engage the care team

A coordinated care response is essential for optimal diabetes care. Engaging the care team is a crucial step for coordinated patient care. To effectively engage the care team, you need to establish roles and responsibilities, define your goals for success, support ongoing communication and training, enforce accountability, and empowering staff to function at the top of their license. Because diabetes care often involves many types of health providers, health systems should also consider engaging relevant specialists as a part of their care teams.

2. Empower patients

With the complexity of diabetes, it is important to empower patients with the tools and resources they need to manage their condition. A tailored approach that generates individualized goals and utilizes shared decision-making is the most effective step providers can take with patient care. It is also important to consider the patient’s perspective in their care process. What is their patient experience like? What can you do to improve it? Are there external social factors you have not considered, like transportation or housing? Additionally, patients should be referred to diabetes education classes or other resources to find better ways to support themselves daily. Knowledge is power!

3. Harness technology

Part of improving diabetes management is leveraging the available technologies to better understand any gaps in care. Health systems can utilize technology like remote patient monitoring, e-coaching, while telehealth opportunities can help patients manage their diabetes while at home. Additionally, point-of-care tools in electronic health records, patient registries, and population management software can assist health systems identify patients that need diabetes care.

4. Develop external partnerships

When you develop an external partnership, you might have an opportunity to offer services that meet patients where they are. Health systems can reach out to community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, insurance companies, public health organizations, and outside providers.