Through a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) grant, researchers showed that the US Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) is improving outcomes and saving costs in Medicare beneficiaries with prediabetes. Nearly 30 million Americans have type 2 diabetes; 86 million have prediabetes, which can lead to diabetes. People with prediabetes have elevated blood sugar that is not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
The National DPP is a lifestyle intervention program that runs for 12 months and includes 16 weekly core educational sessions led by trained staff followed by monthly maintenance sessions. The National DPP provides a supportive, small group environment to promote healthier eating habits and increase physical activity, with goals of reducing body weight by 5 to 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week. The program is available online or in-person and is based on a 2002 randomized clinical trial that demonstrated that intensive lifestyle intervention was effective and successfully reduced risk for developing diabetes by 58 percent for the entire study population. For those over the age of 60, risk for diabetes was reduced by 71 percent.
CMMI’s research showed that during a 15-month period, Medicare saved $2,650 for each person enrolled. Last month, CMS released the study results along with a statement by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that it is exploring strategies to incorporate the National DPP into Medicare. The calendar year 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule, expected out this summer, will have more information about how CMS could expand the program.
Analysis: DataUSA, a comprehensive visualization of US public data, is a collaborative project between MIT Media Lab, Data Wheel Inc., and Deloitte. Users can drill down on certain data by region or topic to help them create stories, charts, and graphics. Last month, Sarah Thomas, Research Director at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions published Dangerous running mates, which delves into the relationship between obesity and diabetes.
Given the prevalence of diabetes around the country, the recent announcement that Medicare may cover the National DPP could translate to opportunities for many digital health startups in diabetes prevention. Digital health has the potential to provide tailored, real-time, evidence-based, actionable data to consumers and clinicians, which could translate to helping the US rewrite the story of diabetes and obesity prevalence down the road.
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