SPOKANE, Wash. — A study completed by the Center for International Health Services Research and Policy based at Washington State University Spokane stresses the importance in the U.S. health system of screening for diabetes type 2 management and prevention.

The study assessed the association between four preventive diabetes screenings (retinal eye exams, HbA1c testing, lipid testing and albumin testing) within the study period, and health services utilization patterns for a two-year follow-up period. The study is based on claims data for 2,641 patients with type 2 diabetes from Regence Blue Shield of Idaho for the three most recent periods of 2000 (base period), 2001 and 2002 (results period).  

Patients who received lipids testing showed a significant overall decrease in inpatient service utilization during the results study period.  Further, recommended screenings of retinal eye exams and albumin testing were associated with an increase in outpatient utilization in the subsequent two years. Lower inpatient utilization and/or higher outpatient services are considered a positive outcome.

The study states: “From a governmental policy perspective, these empirical results point to critical considerations facing federal policy makers. Pursuing a state or federally supported screening program for patients with type 2 diabetes could reduce frequent utilization of inpatient services.”

The paper, entitled “Examining the Association Between Preventive Screenings and Subsequent Health Services Utilization by Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” was authored by assistant professor of health policy and administration Fevzi Akinci; center director and health policy professor Joseph Coyne; Joni Minear, a graduate of the master’s program in health policy; WSU Spokane assistant professor and center post-doctoral fellow Kenn Daratha, and current health policy graduate student Dan Simonson. It was published in the April 2005 issue of Disease Management and Health Outcomes, an international journal published from Auckland, New Zealand.

About the Center for International Health Services Research and Policy

Established in March 2004, the WSU Center for International Health Services Research and Policy conducts international comparative analyses regarding critical health system priority areas, as identified by the Ministries of Health around the globe.

The center includes scholars from around the world with a wide range of expertise:

·          Financing of healthcare delivery including payment methodologies and development of national health insurance

·          Developing and restructuring healthcare delivery with a focus on primary and acute care health services including facilities mergers and acquisitions

·          Health outcomes research and quality improvement including program evaluation (cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis)

·          Chronic disease management including prevention of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity

·          Epidemiological study design, implementation, and monitoring including primary data collection and statistical analysis

·          Education and training of Ministry of Health leaders in the areas of leadership, management, and control and training of healthcare workforce including certification, licensure, standardization and accreditation

·          National health policy development

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