The Task Force for the National Conference on Diabetes issued a Call to Action recently entitled "Shaping our future: a call to action to tackle the diabetes epidemic and reduce its economic impact." This Call to Action is a result of the National Conference on Diabetes, held earlier this year in Washington, D.C., which was attended by nearly 100 participants representing the Administration, Congress, government officials, public health organizations and industry.

"The Call to Action seeks to address diabetes prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management, as well as to identify the practices and resources required to meet the needs of people with, and at risk for, diabetes," said Steve Edelman, M.D., a practicing endocrinologist and Founder and Director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, one of the members of the Task Force.

Diabetes currently affects nearly 24 million people in the U.S. and is expected to reach 32 million by 2031. Modeling by Milliman, an actuarial firm, indicates that diabetes-related costs could increase from 10 percent of U.S. health expenditures in 2011 ($340 billion) to 15 percent by 2031 ($1.6 trillion).

The Call to Action identifies three goals to advance diabetes prevention and treatment, leading to improved health outcomes for people with the disease:

• Empower and enable people with, or at risk for, diabetes and their communities to do their part in preventing and managing diabetes for better quality of life and health outcomes.
• For example, identify or develop information for people with diabetes that is accurate, accessible and actionable, including information that is culturally sensitive and takes into account individuals' literacy levels and language preferences; support existing—and the creation of new—clinical and community-based diabetes prevention, self-management and education programs and support groups, and other initiatives; and encourage public and private collaboration to support communities to build healthier environments, including healthy diet and exercise.
Support and promote tools and resources for healthcare professionals to prevent, detect earlier and more effectively treat diabetes.
• For example, leverage best practices to improve screening for all people at risk for diabetes; and support care coordination activities and new models of care to improve performance in key measures related to diabetes.
Support effective implementation, education and awareness of healthcare reform provisions focusing on diabetes care and prevention.
• For example, communicate to key stakeholders opportunities arising from healthcare reform for improved diabetes prevention and disease management; and ensure people with diabetes have access to the tools and services they need to effectively manage their disease.

"Importantly, the Call to Action provides recommendations for a range of diabetes stakeholders, including federal and state policymakers, healthcare professionals and communities," noted Gary Puckrein, Ph.D., President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum, a Task Force member. "I encourage those working to confront the nation's diabetes epidemic to review the full document, entitled 'Shaping our future: a call to action to tackle the diabetes epidemic and reduce its economic impact,' at both and"

Source: National Conference on Diabetes Press Release

Article originally posted by on November 30, 2010.