Medscape looks to fill docs' diabetes-testing gap

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The results reported this week by Brown University researchers on the failure of lifestyle interventions to insulate adults with diabetes against heart problems underscored the difficulty of translating such interventions into clinical benefit. Working on the physician side, one medical-education provider has been able to come up with interventions that physicians treating patients with Type 2 diabetes were able to incorporate in the clinic right away.

Medscape saw improvement “in the high single-digits, across the board” for three measures of improvement: ordering of LDL cholesterol and A1C testing, and ordering foot exams, said Jamie DeMaria, PhD, who is VP, education marketing and strategy, for the company.

The activity, sponsored by Eli Lilly, followed the typical three-step process of performance-improvement CME. Physicians uploaded data to determine their baseline testing rates, then were asked to pick from a “menu of interventions,” DeMaria said, including original CME content, guidelines and other resources.

Sixty days later, they were prompted to pull data on 10 patients to compare the before-and-after rates. “We had very strong results suggesting that physicians, after going through the interventions, were ordering tests at a significantly higher rate,” DeMaria said.

The activity started out with 4,500 physician participants, and about 450 stuck around until the yearlong activity ended earlier this year—a 10% completion rate. Given the time requirements of PI-CME activities, that's somewhat impressive. All of the interventions were mobile-optimized, which may have helped.

DeMaria said the genesis of the activity was a needs assessment Medscape conducted where it identified a gap in A1C, LDL and routine foot exams, “to stay ahead of neuropathy before it becomes more serious and harder to treat.” Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage, often brought about by high blood sugar, that can harm nerve fibers in the feet and legs.

If CME interventions can help lower the risk of neuropathy for the 26 million Americans who have diabetes, perhaps such activities could reduce the need for costly medical care later.

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