Commentary| Volume 19, ISSUE 3, P540-558, May 1997

Cost drivers in diabetes care: the problems they present and potential solutions

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      Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that affects many aspects of the lives of diagnosed patients and their families, the health care industry, and society. The majority of the economic literature on diabetes addresses the cost of treating diabetes but not the outcomes of clinical interventions. The primary cost of treating diabetes is related to short-term care to achieve euglycemia and long-term care associated with complications of the disease. The short-term costs of achieving euglycemia can be overshadowed by the decreased risk of long-term complications. The difficulty of providing care for a chronic disease such as diabetes arises from the high short-term costs of clinical interventions, the positive benefits of which may not be realized for many years. The results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial show a correlation between the intensive treatment of diabetes and a decreased risk of the development of long-term complications. Whether intensive treatment is practical, effective, and cost-effective in a real-world setting is a topic for further study. In the meantime, health care providers with a good knowledge of the clinical and economic elements of available therapeutic options can develop individualized care regimens for their patients with diabetes that are high quality and cost-effective


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