In August of 2016, the Rotary clubs of Ann Arbor West, USA and Trincomalee, Sri Lanka collaborated on developing a diabetes care center (DCC) using technology and trained diabetic care assistants to develop an improved model of diabetic care delivery.  Medical staff and students from the University of Michigan Medical and Business Schools have joined the collaboration to develop a more efficient delivery model.

grace-diabetes-centerIn the new model, diabetic patients are evaluated by diabetic care assistants who collect data relevant to diabetes care and enter the information into a cloud based electronic health record. This data is then immediately accessible to the medical care team in the U.S., interpreted and care algorithms are used to assess a diabetic risk score to each patient. A color is then assigned to each patient based on known diabetic risk factors. Patients with green and yellow scores (low risk for short term complications) are managed conservatively with the help of the diabetic care assistants. The assistants are trained in diabetic education so that patients can optimize lifestyle measures including diet and exercise to improve glycemic control. Those with red scores (high risk for short term complications) are immediately referred to their local physician with priority appointments. All patients are given a detailed report of the status of their diabetes to share with their local doctor so the physician will have access to high quality data to use in formulating their care plan. The DCC is a triage tool to increases capacity by utilizing paid diabetic care assistants in the care pathway and only utilizes physicians to see patients at highest risk.

Above: Sigal Eilat-Adar PhD, RD, clinical dietitian and epidemiologist, speaks about our project.

Grace Girls’ Home has a 14-year history of empowering girls and developing educational and vocational programs to help them break the cycle of poverty. One of our recent endeavors has been the development of a Diabetes Care Center, providing Grace girls with the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to become diabetic care assistants. It also provides the community with a very valuable service.

In Sri Lanka with an adult population of nearly 14 million, an estimated 1.2 million people have diabetes with 16,000 deaths annually from diabetic complications.  An estimated 600,000 people are also undiagnosed.