Utilizing a diabetic registry to manage diabetes in a low-income Asian American population.
ABSTRACT Racial and income disparities persist in diabetes management in America. One third of African and Hispanic Americans with diabetes receive the recommended diabetes services (hemoglobin A1c [A1c] testing, retinal and foot examinations) shown to reduce diabetes complications and mortality, compared to half of whites with diabetes. National data for Asian Americans are limited, but studies suggest that those with language and cultural barriers have difficulty accessing health services. A diabetic registry has been shown to improve process and clinical outcomes in a population with diabetes. This study examined whether a community center that serves primarily low-income Asian American immigrants in Santa Clara County, California, could improve diabetes care and outcomes by implementing a diabetic registry. The registry was built using the Access 2007 software program. A total of 580 patients with diabetes were identified by reviewing charts, the appointment database, and reimbursement records from Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies. Utilizing the registry, medical assistants contacted patients for follow-up appointments, and medical providers checked and tracked the patients' A1c results. Among the 431 patients who returned for treatment, the mean A1c was reduced from 7.27% to 6.97% over 8 months (P<0.001). Although 10.8% of the patients changed from controlled to uncontrolled diabetes post intervention, 32.6% of patients with uncontrolled diabetes converted to controlled diabetes (P<0.001). The diabetes control rate improved from 47% to 59% at the end of the study. This study demonstrated that a diabetic registry is an effective tool to manage an underserved population with diabetes, thereby reducing disparities in diabetes management.