The current diabetes epidemic threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system unless we redesign how diabetes care is delivered. The number of endocrinologists is grossly inadequate to provide care for all individuals with diabetes, but with the appropriate utilization of the primary care workforce and alternative healthcare providers working together in teams, effective diabetes care can be provided to all. We propose a patient-centered, goal-based approach with resources devoted to care coordination, measurement of outcomes, appropriate use of technology, and measurement of patient satisfaction. Financial incentives to healthcare systems and providers need to be based on defined outcome measures and reducing long-term total medical expenditures, rather than reimbursement based on number of visits and lengthy documentation. Endocrinologists have a responsibility in setting up effective diabetes care delivery systems within their organizations, in addition to delivering diabetes care and serving as a resource for the educational needs for other medical professionals in the community. There are major challenges to implementing such systems, both at the financial and organizational levels. We suggest a stepwise implementation of discrete components based on the local priorities and resources and provide some examples of steps we have taken at our institution.
Keywords: Alternative medical providers; Diabetes care; Healthcare delivery; Patient-centered care; Total medical expenditure.