A new study in the US has found that chronic health conditions such as diabetes can be improved through team-based healthcare compared with the traditional healthcare alternatives.
Scientists at the University of Washington and the Group Health Research Institute undertook a small randomised test of TEAMcare, a primary care intervention scheme involving consistent patient monitoring combined with support by nurses.
It was shown that health measures in those who received the TEAMcare attention were significantly improved after a year in the programme compared to those receiving normal care, and that levels of patient satisfaction were also much higher.
With the treatment of chronic diseases being so expensive due to the need for comprehensive care, the research into a sample of 214 patients with poorly controlled diabetes and/or heart disease was able to show that the patients under TEAMcare received 10 in-person visits from their nurse or coach and 10 telephone calls over the 12-month period on average, with total costs amounting to USD1,224. This can be compared with the average total yearly cost to the healthcare system for such patients is USD10,000.
For the study, the patients who received the intervention had a nurse who helped them set realistic but incremental targets for lowering blood sugar and depression, as well as improving cardiovascular measures.

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