About 400,000 people in BC suffer from diabetes. While the disease sounds simple – high blood sugar – the long-term complications are not. Those complications include heart disease, chronic kidney failure, eye damage and circulation issues, and have a major impact on BC’s health care system.
Endocrine patients (primarily diabetes) face gaps in accessing longitudinal shared care between family physicians, specialty clinics, specialists and other resources. As well, geography and high-risk groups (e.g., Aboriginal, Chinese and South Asian) have additional challenges when accessing diabetes care. Currently, there is no BC system to track, study, understand, manage and improve the delivery of care.
Endocrinologist, Dr. Marshall Dahl, saw a need to re-examine diabetes care delivery in BC, and proposed starting with a comprehensive needs assessment that used the integrated power of contemporary data analysis from hospitals and government together with the personal experience of health care providers across BC.
In 2015, Dr. Dahl as the Project Lead and Dr. Wendy Leong as the Project Manager submitted a proposal to SSC under the Quality and Innovation initiative, which was approved for funding.
Phase 1 (2015-2016) was successfully completed with strong commitment from First Nations Health Authority, Northern Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, two Divisions of Family Practice, BC Ministry of Health, Doctors of BC and other stakeholders. In addition to preliminary quantitative data, qualitative data collection through working/focus groups included more than 400 interdisciplinary participants.
One stakeholder notes, “You have envisioned, designed, guided and funded an analysis that is probably unprecedented in its comprehensiveness and that looks very promising to yield numerous clinical and operational insights.”
Phase 2 (2016-2018) involves the extraction and analysis of diabetes-related data from hospitalizations and emergency department visits and population-based data from the BC Ministry of Health, stretching from community and Family Practice settings through acute and chronic care. Phase 2 will also involve diabetes patients and caregivers.
No comprehensive, quantitative and qualitative diabetes environmental scan has ever been conducted for BC before and the results of this assessment are expected to provide in-depth assistance when it comes to redesigning diabetes care delivery in BC.