There were 4,598 patients tracked with respect to blood pressure and cholesterol management. Some 51 percent of these patients lowered their blood pressure below 130/80 mm and 78 percent lowered their blood pressure below 140/90 mm. A total of 71 percent of patients were placed on an ACE inhibitor or beta-blocker for heart disease. More than 42.8 percent of patients lowered their LDL cholesterol level below 100 mg and 76.4 percent lowered LDL to less than 130 mg. A total of 77 percent of patients were put on a lipid-lowering drug. Physician compliance with a prospective tracking form that focused on lipid and blood pressure management was over 95 percent.
These figures are impressive when compared to national statistics, according to Dr. Solano. Nationally, according to a 2002 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, just 65.7 percent of people with diabetes have blood pressure lower than 140/90, only 11 percent have LDL less than 100 mg and only 42 percent have LDL less than 130 mg.
The Focus on Diabetes initiative began by laying the foundation for improved diabetes care practices through implementation of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Standards of Care, supporting education efforts and creating community awareness. ADA Standards with companion flow sheets were disseminated to the practices. Presentations to physicians on diabetes care focused on ADA guidelines, rationale and strategies for treatment and diabetes self-management education. This was a major challenge since the UPMC physician network extends across a radius of 250 miles. Physician education was delivered through a variety of venues including telecommunicated programs for outlying rural practices, regional physician meetings and lectures from the academic endocrine faculty.