Background: The care of patients with chronic diseases, especially those with diabetes mellitus, has been less than ideal. However, despite clear national guidelines, various examples of better care models, and multiple attempts to improve care, an effective process for facilitating and replicating diabetes care improvements in typical primary care practices has been elusive.
Methods: On the basis of the approach and lessons from developmental work at the Minnesota Diabetes Control Program and a trial of continuous quality improvement for clinical preventive services (IMPROVE), a clinic-based intervention processes (IDEAL) has been developed to improve the system and process of care for patients with diabetes as a model for all chronic diseases. The intervention incorporates facilitation of leadership actions in support of change, training for the leader and facilitator of an intraclinic multidisciplinary continuous quality improvement (CQI) team, and consultative and networking support of the change process. Each element of this intervention emphasizes a seven-step process improvement approach and a system for care of patients with diabetes. This model is being developed and tested in a unique partnership between the Minnesota Department of Health and HealthPartners, a large managed care organization (MCO).
Results: A prepilot demonstration has succeeded in improving glycemic control, three primary care clinics affiliated with HealthPartners have succeeded in a pilot of the intervention, and an additional 13 clinics are participating in a randomized controlled trial of a refined intervention.
Conclusions: The IDEAL model holds promise for substantial improvements in care, not only for diabetes but for all chronic diseases and for other settings.