Department of Veterans Affairs' Quality Enhancement Research Initiative for Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes is a common disease, which frequently leads to serious, high-cost complications. Estimates show that in fiscal year 1994 (FY94), 12.5% of outpatients in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) received diabetes-specific medications, accounted for almost 25% of all VHA pharmacy costs, had a hospitalization rate 1.6 times that of veterans without diabetes, and made 3.6 million outpatient visits to VA clinics. Research demonstrates that much of the mortality and morbidity associated with diabetes can be prevented, and rigorous evidence-based guidelines have been developed. The short-term objectives of the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative for Diabetes Mellitus (QUERI-DM) are to (1) gather baseline information on how current VHA diabetes care differs from the VHA guidelines, (2) develop an efficient, validated system for monitoring key diabetes quality standards in the VHA, (3) evaluate the effectiveness of current approaches to diabetes care and the success of guideline implementation initiatives, and (4) initiate 2 to 4 large-scale quality improvement projects to enhance adherence to practice guidelines and evaluate their impact on patient outcomes, including quality of life.

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