Increasing awareness and referral of diabetes prevention program in the hospital setting
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Background: Type 2 diabetes is a great burden on the US health care system. The increase in prevalence makes the prevention of diabetes an urgent public health priority. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), an intensified lifestyle modification program established by the CDC, has the capacity to reduce overall diabetes risk by 58% in people considered high risk for the disease. However, despite its encouraging results in diabetes prevention, the DPP continues to be underutilized. Purpose and Methods: The overall goal of this DNP scholarly project, conducted in a hospital setting, was to increase provider awareness of the DPP and increase referrals to the program. Three key methods were used to carry out the project. First, an educational presentation about the DPP was disseminated to providers to increase their awareness and knowledge of the program. The second involved embedding a referral pathway from a local hospital (project site) to the local DPP. The third was to build a clinical-community linkage (CCL) among the local hospital, the local DPP, and primary care providers (PCP). The goal of the latter was to enhance care coordination and increase PCP awareness of the DPP. Results: The results demonstrated that educational presentations did increase the providers' awareness and knowledge of DPP. During the implementation period, there were 35 DPP-eligible patients. Yet, the majority of these patients were missed due to a lack of time from the volunteer staff. The referral rate did not meet the project's goal. However, most of the patients approached refused to enroll in the DPP due to lack of awareness of their high diabetes risk. Nonetheless, the implications of this project were valuable for the local hospital as it highlighted the need to better address this national public health issue.