A multidisciplinary team from Alicante Department of Health – Sant Joan D’Alacant has been awarded the Univants of Healthcare Excellence Award 2020 for a project on the early detection of diabetes. This international award for healthcare excellence recognizes the best scientific initiatives of multidisciplinary teams led by the clinical analysis laboratory that contribute to transforming healthcare provision through cutting-edge approaches.
The work of the Alicante center has been selected from more than a thousand candidates, it shares the top Univants accolade globally with two other projects, one from New Zealand and one from Canada, and has been named the best in Europe in 2020.
Under the name of Early diagnosis and better management of diabetes patients through strategic and automated testing algorithms throughout primary care, the project has managed to detect 229 cases of undiagnosed diabetes and 3,337 cases of undiagnosed prediabetes since 2016.
“Diabetes is a disease very prevalent in the world. In the Valencian Community 6% of the population is diabetic. And it is a pathology in which early diagnosis helps a lot to delay the complications it causes, which contributes to improving the quality of life of patients and reducing treatment costs for the Administration ”, explains María Salinas, project coordinator and head of clinical analysis of the Department of Health of Alicante – Sant Joan D’Alacant.
To detect and monitor diabetes, professionals use a laboratory test called glycosylated hemoglobin. This study uses the same container as the blood count, one of the most common blood tests performed in the laboratory, so the Salinas team raised the possibility of taking advantage of blood counts that were requested from patients over 45 years of age, to measure glycated hemoglobin in the same sample and check at the same time if they were diabetic.
“The problem with doing it to all patients over 45 is that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack and very expensive. So we approached Primary Care physicians and agreed that we would measure the test when patients also had a certain level of Blood glucose, since the main characteristic of diabetes is precisely the presence of persistently high concentrations of glucose in the blood, ”says Dr. Salinas.
In this way, they were able to detect 173 patients older than 45 years with undiagnosed diabetes and 3,337 cases of undiagnosed prediabetes. They have also managed to detect 56 diabetics between 25 and 45 years old, but in these cases the way of tracking them has been different, since in addition to using a glucose level, elevated lipid values were examined.
“In this way we have diagnosed many sick who did not know they had diabetes, even very young people. Knowing it early will improve your quality of life, because it is not the same to know that you have this pathology at the age of 25, when you can change life habits and delay the onset of complications, to do so at 50, when they may have already developed ”, says the head of clinical analysis of the Alicante Health Department – Sant Joan D’Alacant.
Another of the strengths of the project Alicante on diabetes is the automation of the monitoring of diabetics already diagnosed using computer programs. Dr. Salinas’s team detected that one of the problems in treating these patients is that some did not undergo follow-up tests with the periodicity recommended by endocrinologists, and they decided to use digital tools to solve this problem.
“There are times when diabetic patients The biannual tests recommended by endocrinology societies are not performed for various reasons. With this system, which we have agreed with endocrinologists, Primary Care physicians and the hospital management, the laboratory information system automatically includes the laboratory tests to patients, when any analysis has been requested, at the recommended cadence by the guides ”, explains Dr. Salinas.
Thanks to this improvement in el follow-up of diabetic patients, the results since 2016 in the periodic reviews have been gradually improving and it has been achieved that there are a greater number of patients with diabetes in the Department of Health with low levels of glycosylated hemoglobin in the blood, below 8%.
The Univants of Healthcare Excellence Award is an accolade that recognizes the sanitary excellence through multidisciplinary teams led by the clinical analysis laboratory around the world. It is organized by health institutions of great international prestige such as the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) and the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), among others, and is promoted by the Abbott Pharmaceutical Company.
With this recognition, the clinical analysis laboratory of the Alicante – Sant Joan D’Alacant Health Department ranks among the best in the world. So much so that the members of the team that developed the winning project have already been invited to participate in the congress of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and in the Annual European Conference on Health Management.
The award-winning team is compound by doctors Emilio Flores-Pardo and Maite López-Garrigós, members of the clinical analysis laboratory of the Alicante Health Department – Sant Joan D’Alacant, Francisco J. Pomares-Gómez, endocrinologist of the Alicante center and coordinator of the Diabetes Plan of the Valencian Community, and Beatriz Massa, manager of the Department, in addition to Dr. María Salinas.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.