Baptist Health Physician Partners Uses Online Diabetes Patient Education to Help Arkansans

Background

From 2012 until now, Baptist Health Physician Partners has grown to 1,500 providers and counting by expanding far beyond the system across the entire state of Arkansas. This clinically integrated network’s common goal is to improve the quality of healthcare and lower the cost of healthcare for all Arkansans. With diabetes remaining a top health challenge for the state and population health remaining a top focus, Baptist sought a thorough solution to steadily educate a large number of patients with varied demographics. For many Arkansans, just getting to the training is a challenge. After conducting an opportunity assessment within their clinically integrated network, Baptist is barely above the benchmark on per member per month cost on drugs, visits, and admissions related to diabetes. Decreasing this number has been a huge motivation for partnering with the Arkansas Department of Health to provide online Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DMSES) on a broader scale.


Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) programs help both patients and their healthcare teams prevent or delay diabetes complications. Because Arkansas’s diabetes population faces numerous barriers to receiving in-person DSMES, Baptist is addressing these barriers by deploying online DSMES on a broad scale. This will result in increased distribution of quality diabetes management education, reduced healthcare costs, and minimizing the complications diabetes causes. With a large amount of their population having the lack of transportation as a barrier, online diabetes education will reach residents who live in rural areas along with residents who are simply unable to attend in-person sessions. This case study documents Arkansas continued implementation of online DSMES and projected outcomes.


The Challenge

In addition to seeking a thorough diabetes education solution for patients at large, Baptist is also seeking accreditation. Because they aren’t currently an accredited diabetes program, their staff isn’t fluid in diabetes coaching. In order to reach accreditation, their staff has to be trained and they have to serve patients. dMeetings will help them accomplish these objectives and ultimately their goal of accreditation. Their health professionals will heavily benefit by accessing the training at their convenience. Also, if the health professional is already a Registered Nurse or Registered Dietician, dMeetings curriculum will get them up to speed prior to becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator.


The Solution – Online Patient Education

Evidence has shown, better diabetes management helps people with diabetes live longer, more productive and healthier lives. To eliminate the barriers plaguing Arkansas’s underserved and rural diabetes populations, with residents with both travel and scheduling conflicts, Baptist Health Physician Partners sought dMeetings as the best method to address these issues. dMeetings is an online DSMES curriculum that, in conjunction with health coaching and oversight, leverages online education to help patients better manage their diabetes. Patients, and healthcare payers, who manage diabetes effectively benefit by having lower healthcare costs and improved quality of life.


The dMeetings model consists of 10 online sessions derived from the AADE’s 7 core behaviors of managing diabetes. Each session is about 30 minutes in length and is accompanied by a quiz and self-study resources. The Learning Management System (LMS) allows health coaches and administrators the ability to track progress and measure learner comprehension throughout the series. This information is particularly relevant as coaches work with patients in follow-up and/or telemedicine sessions to help the patient apply concepts learned. At the successful conclusion of the training, a certificate of completion is awarded that the patient can leverage in a variety of ways including in health and wellness and reimbursement programs.


The Environment – Pilot Facilities

With Baptist being a clinically integrated network serving over 1,500 providers, 11 associated hospitals, and over 275 clinics in more than 30 counties across Arkansas, they have extended this pilot to every physician and facility in their network. Some physicians will share dMeetings with their patients at their clinics. There is also the opportunity for reimbursement with accredited programs through Medicare.


Expectations

Overall, Baptist Health Physician Partners is anticipating one main potential outcome throughout their state-wide diabetes populations, for their cost per patient to decrease. Arkansas spending on diabetes-related complications continues to rise and dMeetings is a logical step forward to mitigate some of these costs. Baptist also expects to reach underserved diabetes populations and local sites that may not have diabetes educators present to educate about how to better manage the disease, with their largest populations being those that are underserved. A huge part of helping patients avoid additional health problems related to diabetes is affordable and valuable education.

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