Improvements to Primary Care Show Promise for Reducing Diabetes-related Hospitalizations in Four East Asian Sites

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Interventions designed to improve primary care management of diabetes and reduce avoidable hospital admissions show promise for saving healthcare resources without compromising quality of care. These are the findings made by an international research team’s study of four East Asian sites.

With a fourfold increase in global diabetes prevalence over the past thirty-five years (2016 Lancet report), countries are increasingly experiencing the dual health challenges of chronic noncommunicable diseases and aging populations. An estimated 12 percent of global health expenditures in 2015 was for diabetes-related services.

The study, published in the November issue of Health Affairs, examined policy interventions in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and rural and peri-urban Beijing; by increasing access and adherence to effective outpatient management, the interventions potentially improved health outcomes while realizing cost savings from reduced avoidable hospital admissions.

“This article represents the first publication in a series of research collaborations under the Stanford AHPP-led comparative diabetes net value project,” said Karen Eggleston, Asia Health Policy Program Director and one of the article’s authors.  “We are assembling and analyzing rich patient-level datasets, using diabetes as a lens to explore ‘value for money’ in chronic disease management. “

Eggleston also noted that additional research teams have joined since the publication. The authors look forward to contributing evidence for improved health policy in different institutional contexts and for health systems adapting to rapidly aging populations. 

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