BOSTON - Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have signed a five-year agreement that expands and improves the longstanding clinical collaboration between these two institutions to provide preeminent specialty care for people with diabetes.
Joslin Clinic brings to the joint venture expertise in caring for and educating people with diabetes and their families, as well as proven disease management techniques for identifying patients at risk for developing medical complications and preventing those complications. BIDMC offers an extensive pool of physician specialists who have expertise in treating the complications of diabetes (i.e. heart disease, kidney and pancreas dysfunction, obesity, neuropathy, vascular complications and high-risk pregnancy).
The agreement expands the longstanding collaboration between the two nonprofit institutions, which are both affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In addition to strengthening current diabetes treatment and education programs, Joslin and BIDMC will create new clinical guidelines and interactive programs in a number of areas including diabetes and cardiovascular disease; eye care for those with diabetes; kidney and pancreas transplantation as well as clinical trials of islet cell transplantation; high-risk pregnancy; and obesity, a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.
Joslin and BIDMC will continue existing programs in vascular surgery for diabetes complications; clinical endocrinology; nephrology; mental health; podiatry services; and patient education and training. New emphasis will be placed on joint programs for training specialists in the area of diabetes and endocrinology.
"We will take both the care of people with diabetes and the relationship between the two institutions to a new level," said Alan Moses, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Joslin Clinic. "By combining our expertise, we are not only able to provide preeminent, multidisciplinary care for people with diabetes and related complications, but also to ensure continuity of care for patients in both the inpatient and outpatient setting." Diabetes is a growing public health threat. In Massachusetts alone, more than 300,000 people (more than 5 percent of all those 18 and older) are estimated to have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 140,000 adults are estimated to have diabetes but remain undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes, formerly considered a disease of older adults, has grown at epidemic rates in recent years and is occurring increasingly among young adults and even children, largely thought due to obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
Diabetes is a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes, eye disease and blindness, and other devastating and costly complications. Research has clearly demonstrated that expert diabetes care that keeps blood glucose near normal can reduce the risks of developing complications, and can markedly slow the rate at which complications progress.
Successful diabetes management relies heavily on the patient, primary care physician and specialized diabetes healthcare team -- including physicians, nurses, dietitians, educators and exercise physiologists -- working together to coordinate medication (insulin and other drugs that help the body produce and use insulin) with diet, exercise and regular blood glucose monitoring to achieve good diabetes control and a healthy lifestyle.
"Joslin and BIDMC will provide our patients the most comprehensive spectrum of multidisciplinary diabetes care available anywhere," said BIDMC President and CEO Paul Levy. "From patient education in self-care, to personalized disease management and specialty care, patients will receive the highest quality care for diabetes and its complications."
Joslin and BIDMC will develop systems that support more efficient and effective delivery of care, including: a joint inpatient hospital coverage program; a shared electronic clinical information system that will streamline medical consults and improve access to treatment specialists; joint protocol development; comprehensive risk assessment and disease management programs based on Joslin's disease management guidelines; and ongoing physician, staff and patient education.
The joint venture will be governed by a five-person board of trustees chaired by Joslin Diabetes Center President C. Ronald Kahn, M.D. "The key to diabetes care is the right team of experts, and this alliance does just that by bringing together the expertise of Joslin physicians and educators with the expertise of other specialists and primary care physicians of the BIDMC," he added.
All clinical, administrative and financial operations will be under the guidance of a Joint Operating Committee, led by Dr. Moses and Michael Epstein, M.D., Chief Operating Officer of BIDMC.
Joslin Diabetes Center and BIDMC will remain as separate entities. Joslin will continue its existing collaborations with other Boston hospitals. Joslin's nationwide Affiliated Centers program will remain separate, as will the basic science research and fundraising conducted at each institution.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a major patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.
Joslin Diabetes Center, the global leader in diabetes research, care and education, is uniquely qualified to lead the battle against diabetes in the 21st century. Joslin Research is a team of over 300 people at the forefront of discovery aimed at preventing and curing diabetes. Joslin Clinic, the nationwide network of Joslin Affiliated Programs, and the hundreds of Joslin educational programs offered each year for clinicians, researchers and patients enable Joslin to develop, implement and share innovations that immeasurably improve the lives of people with diabetes. As a nonprofit, Joslin relies upon the generosity of donations to support its programs. For more information on Joslin, call 1-800-JOSLIN-1 or visit www.joslin.org.