Diabetes Database Offers Perspective

A huge database of diabetes patients unveiled last month will be used to try to improve care for patients. The database, called the SUPREME-DM DataLink (derived from SUrveillance, PREvention, and ManagEment of Diabetes Mellitus) includes health information for nearly 1.1 million diabetics in 10 states. The information was contributed by Kaiser Permanente (six regions), Geisinger Health System, Group Health Cooperative, Health Partners, Henry Ford Health System, and the Marshfield Clinic.

It will provide “an opportunity to conduct comparative effectiveness research, epidemiologic surveillance including longitudinal analyses, and population-based care management studies of people with diabetes” and explore “associated risk factors, complications, and health outcomes in new ways,” according to a study published in the June 7 edition of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gregory A. Nichols, PhD, is a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and the lead author of the SUPREME-DM Project.

He tells Managed Care that, “With such a large and diverse population, we will be able to analyze the relative benefits of different therapies in a very comprehensive way. Because our data are longitudinal, we will, for example, be able to determine which therapies not only provide the best glycemic control in the short term, but which most effectively reduce clinical outcomes such as heart attacks in the longer term. In addition, we will be able to identify events that might not be seen in smaller data sets.”

Ronald Harris, MD, an endocrinologist at Geisinger Health System and one of the study’s investigators, says that “Once an accurate registry is developed, population intervention strategies can be specifically targeted for early intervention, maintenance of risk factors at prefixed goals, or conducting interventions in populations with advanced disease,” says Harris.