Diabetes is a serious chronic illness which has become an epidemic in the United States. Diabetes affects the entire body, partly through its potentially harmful effects on blood vessels.
At Partners HealthCare, we track our performance on metrics that are part of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), a set of measures used by more than 90 percent of U.S. health plans to measure performance and improve quality on a broad range of health issues, including diabetes care.
The Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) blood test indicates to physicians what the patient’s overall blood sugar control has been in the previous three months. Better control of blood sugar means the patient is likely to have fewer complications from diabetes.
If patients with diabetes have high Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol levels, their physicians can help them make the changes they need to lower their LDL cholesterol levels. Lower levels of "bad" cholesterol decrease the risk of future vascular problems and complications.
Diabetes can severely damage the kidneys by causing a condition called diabetic nephropathy. Early detection and prevention of damage to kidney function is critical for diabetic patients.