The Challenge of Diabetes
Why isn’t there a simple, inexpensive test that can immediately tell someone his or her risk for developing diabetes? This goal has been achieved for many other common health situations, beginning with the pregnancy test and now available across a wide range of conditions. There is a clear unmet need for such a diabetes test, something with the potential to help the world address what many believe is the major healthcare issue of our time.
Only in the past few years have governments, major health care providers, and pharmaceutical companies begun to respond to the scale of the looming diabetes disaster by focusing on finding effective programs for diabetes prevention and control. The way forward was indicated beginning almost 15 years ago, when the Asheville Project and the Diabetes Ten City Challenge demonstrated that a community–based prevention strategy based on monthly counseling improved patient outcomes, conserved expensive medical resources and more than paid for itself in reduced medical costs and increased worker productivity.
Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA - Obamacare) in 2010 has had the most significant impetus for the exploration and adoption of prevention–based approaches to diabetes. The PPACA called for the creation of the National Prevention Council, which in turn released the National Prevention Strategy in June of 2011 – a document that outlines a detailed policy for the implementation of prevention–based programs that will improve health and significantly reduce healthcare costs.
Evidence-based diabetes prevention programs based on monthly counseling are now widespread throughout the U.S., with community organizations such as the YMCA supported by national organizations such as the American Association of Diabetes Educators. The health insurance industry has embraced the logic of diabetes prevention and is in the process of implementing a national strategy for diabetes prevention.
Diabetes Prevention – Challenge and Opportunity