The University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute (UPDI), in partnership with UPMC, began an ambitious program in 2006 to provide comprehensive diabetes care throughout western Pennsylvania. Through the creation of the Pittsburgh Regional Initiative for Diabetes Education or PRIDE Program, UPDI - along with six regional health care partners - developed a multi-faceted approach to delivering diabetes care in primary care settings and in the community. The PRIDE program is based on the Chronic Care Model – a model of care that focuses on creating a more informed, active patient and a more prepared, proactive practice team.
UPDI worked with UPMC to test and launch the first chronic disease module for UPMC HealthTrak — a web-based patient portal which provides patients with access to their health records while facilitating electronic communication with their physicians.
A virtual lifestyle management (VLM) program delivering an evidence-based lifestyle intervention aimed at weight loss, improved diet and increased physical activity was designed for UPMC HealthTrak and was subsequently converted for online delivery independent of UPMC HealthTrak. The one year VLM program, which provides standardized education, self-monitoring tools, and the opportunity to communicate directly with a trained lifestyle coach, can be used as a part of diabetes prevention or treatment strategies.
UPDI, in conjunction with the UPMC Eye Center, spearheaded a study to evaluate screening methods that are able to be easily implemented by local practitioners and easily available to people with diabetes. Between 2005 and 2007, a mobile unit traveled to screening events in communities throughout western Pennsylvania where there were low eye exam rates to test adults with diabetes. Images were transmitted telemetrically to a reading center and graded according to the degree of retinopathy found. Once grading was completed, the results were sent to the patient and follow-up recommendations were forwarded to the patient’s physician. This study helped test the efficacy and use of portable cameras as well as methods for archiving retinal images into a database.
The Diabetes Prevention Support Center (DPSC) of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute was established to provide prevention services to health care professionals locally, nationally and internationally.
The DPSC serves as a central training center for lifestyle intervention delivery via workshops as well as provision of subsequent post-training support. At the core of these workshops is a group-based, behavioral lifestyle intervention called the Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) program, which is modeled closely on the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP, one of the largest prevention trials conducted in the U.S., demonstrated that type 2 diabetes can be effectively prevented or delayed through intensive lifestyle intervention in people who are at risk for the disease. The GLB program has been shown to be effective in both civilian and military populations.
Faculty from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health collaborated with UPDI on the development of the Physical Activity Resource Center for Public Health (PARC-PH) in response to an identified need for a comprehensive center that provides physical activity assessment and intervention information and guidance to interested researchers and community members nationally and internationally. A major focus of the web-based center is assessment and intervention issues surrounding race/ethnic/minority groups as well as issues specific to various age-gender groups.
In partnership with the United States Air Force Medical Service, UPDI and UPMC opened a diabetes outreach clinic at Wilford Hall Medical Center on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in October 2006. The clinic’s mission is to provide primary care and comprehensive case management for people with diabetes. Military retirees under the age of 65 and their beneficiaries who receive care at the diabetes outreach clinic benefit from treatment protocols developed through UPDI’s evidence-based studies aimed at improving diabetes care.
UPDI, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania State University, led an effort to create the first-ever statewide Diabetes Action Plan for Pennsylvania. The Diabetes Action Plan—released in May 2007—was created to serve as a blueprint for coordinating efforts throughout Pennsylvania to improve diabetes prevention and control. In response to the release of the 2007 Diabetes Action Plan, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell established a Chronic Care Management Commission that is now responsible for developing processes to effectively manage chronic disease across the state.