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Accenture Study Finds Patient Navigators Help Diabetics Better Manage Chronic Condition

A one-year pilot study by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) and Cleveland Clinic’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center (STJHC) has shown that diabetes patients under the care of patient navigators were able to decrease abnormal blood glucose levels (HbA1c) and increase the completion of self-measured metrics, such as monitoring blood pressure, on a regular basis.

With the support of the Patient Navigation Institute, Accenture and the Cleveland health center developed the pilot, deploying certified patient navigators – low-cost, trained community members who connect patients to essential care services – to assist 108 patients with appropriate clinical interventions and diabetes care practices, including patient education, managing glucose levels and attending clinical appointments as scheduled. Study participants averaged a 32 percent improvement in abnormal blood glucose levels and had a 52 percent increase in the completion of self-measured metrics. The pilot study also achieved a 50 percent decline in no-show appointments, such as regular ophthalmology and podiatry exams.

“We want to reach beyond traditional healthcare services and link patients and their families directly to the healthcare, financial and social services they need,” said Sid Kosaraju, managing director of Accenture Health Management Services. “This program helps identify the barriers to care that patients experience on a daily basis — whether it’s transportation issues or appointment reminders — and provides specific methods to help them overcome issues so they get the best, most cost- effective care possible.”

The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center is one of the first hospitals in the Midwest region to leverage patient navigators to improve diabetes care management. Among the 108 patients in the initial study, 63 had average blood glucose levels greater than 9 percent. Patients were contacted individually by patient navigators to help them understand methods of better diabetes management, including communicating with insurance companies, identifying financial assistance programs and support groups, setting medical appointments, obtaining specialist referrals and enrolling in diabetes education programs and insulin clinics.

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