$5 million for new rural Alberta diabetes management project

    EDMONTON, July 2 /CNW/ - The Alliance for Canadian Health Outcomes
Research in Diabetes (ACHORD) will receive $5 million over the next five years
from Alberta Health and Wellness for a new collaborative outreach project to
support diabetes care and management in rural Alberta.
    Funding for the Alberta Caring for Diabetes (ABCD) project will be
administered by the Institute of Health Economics (IHE).
    "Our ongoing funding for this project will help support primary care
providers in rural regions of Alberta where more support is needed," said Ron
Liepert, Minister of Health and Wellness. "This project will improve care for
people with diabetes and chronic disease, and improve outcomes for our health
care system."
    "People with diabetes are at increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and
kidney failure, which has a personal burden, as well as a burden on our health
care system," said ABCD project leader Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, who is a professor
in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. "This project
will focus on serving the non-metro or rural health regions, where access to
services may be more limited for people living with diabetes."
    "This new support for Dr. Johnson and the ACHORD team will strengthen our
ability to have an impact on chronic disease," said IHE's Executive Director
and CEO Dr. Egon Jonsson.
    As part of the ABCD project specialist teams of physicians, nurses,
pharmacists and dieticians will travel to rural regions to counsel local
health professionals on ways to improve quality of care for diabetes.
    ACHORD will provide support for chronic disease management through
partnerships with health regions, primary care networks, and other existing
community resources.
    Key facts on diabetes in Alberta:
    -   Over 150,000 Albertans are living with diabetes. More than 15,000 new
        cases of diabetes are identified each year in Alberta.
    -   People with diabetes use health care services up to three times more
        than people without diabetes and are two times more likely to die
        than people without diabetes.
    -   People with diabetes are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes,
        kidney disease, eye disease and mental health disorders than people
        without diabetes.

    For more information about ACHORD visit www.achord.ca. For more
information about IHE visit www.ihe.ca.

               Alberta Caring for Diabetes (ABCD) Backgrounder

    What is Alberta Caring for Diabetes (ABCD)?

    ABCD is a chronic disease management system unique to Alberta that will
improve quality of care for people with diabetes and other chronic diseases.

    Why do we need something like ABCD?

    More than 150,000 adult Albertans currently live with diabetes - more
than 5% of the entire Alberta population. In 2006, approximately
15,000 Albertans were newly diagnosed with diabetes. The majority (90%) of
these people have type 2 diabetes which most often develops in adults. The
majority of complications are cardiovascular (including heart disease and
stroke) and are the leading cause of death in people with diabetes. A better
management system is required to deal with the burden of diabetes and its

    How will ABCD work?

    A diabetes outreach intervention project similar to one that has already
been field-tested by Alberta's top diabetes researchers would be implemented.
The ABCD team will collaborate with the Alberta health services board and
primary care networks which will serve as appropriate vehicles to implement
this service. A key element of the ABCD project will be performance
measurement and benchmarking within the health care system. As both Edmonton
and Calgary have fully developed diabetes care programs, they would serve as
hubs for the outreach intervention. The main goal of this intervention will be
enhanced care by local health professionals with particular focus on vascular
protection (including control of blood pressure, lipids, use of antiplatelet
agents, and renal protection), in addition to glycemic control.

    Who is responsible for ABCD?

    The Alliance for Canadian Health Outcomes Research in Diabetes (ACHORD)
will run this project out of the University of Alberta, School of Public
Health. Researchers from other departments at the University of Alberta and
the University of Calgary will also be involved. The ABCD team will include
physicians, pharmacists, nurses and dieticians.

    Who is funding ABCD?

    Alberta Health and Wellness is providing over $5 million over the next
5 years for this initiative. The funding is arranged through a partnership
between Alberta Health and Wellness and the Institute of Health Economics

    How will we know if ABCD is accomplishing what it should?

    The impact of ABCD will be assessed through the Alberta Diabetes
Surveillance System including measurement of patient-level indicators of
quality of care. Examples of this type of data include: laboratory data,
fasting lipids and renal function; physical measures, such as blood pressure,
height and weight, as well as patient-reported information, such as
health-related quality of life, patient satisfaction, and self-care behaviors.
Patients would then be followed on an annual basis to track progress of
diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors, health outcomes, and quality of life

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Interviews with Dr. Jeff Johnson or medical
lead, Dr. Sumit (Me2) Majumdar can be arranged today by calling: Stephanie
Vermeulen, Project Manager, Alberta Diabetes Surveillance System, (780)

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