Health-Plan, Employer-Based Programs Studied for Diabetes

(HealthDay News) – Health plan-initiated, employer-based wellness programs are being implemented to test new approaches to help reduce diabetes risk and, more broadly, to prevent chronic illness, according to research published online Jan. 31 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Julie A. Schmittdiel, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, and colleagues are currently conducting the Natural Experiments in Translation for Diabetes Study to evaluate the effectiveness of two health plan-initiated wellness programs to prevent diabetes in patients at high risk.

Two separate programs are being implemented. According to the authors, the first uses a telephone health-coaching program and motivational interviewing techniques to counsel members on healthful eating, physical activity, weight management, smoking cessation, and stress management. The second program is targeted to help women with gestational diabetes mellitus to ensure that they receive postpartum glucose screening as well as education on how to prevent diabetes.

“Health systems, employers, and health plan purchasers recognize the urgency of determining whether their population-oriented infrastructure can be adapted to address primary prevention of chronic conditions such as diabetes,” Schmittdiel and colleagues conclude. “Given the large numbers of people at increased risk for these conditions, efficient approaches are needed to identify and support patients and providers in effecting lifestyle changes.”

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