Saathoff is a case-in-point: She's a nurse practitioner who has worked with Project IMPACT: Diabetes [PDF], a national research initiative in which nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and diabetes educators work together as part of an interdisciplinary care team to care for people with diabetes.
The nationwide program has cared for more than 2,000 patients who were uninsured, under-insured, homeless and/or living below the poverty line in 25 communities. Interim data released in October shows statistically significant decreases in participants' A1C, LDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and BMI.
Continual Attention to Patients
Saathoff is on staff at a Diabetes Care Group, a diabetes-only physician practice based in Jackson, MS, which partnered with pharmacists from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy for the diabetes project.
She says interdisciplinary care is part of the patient experience from the moment appointments at DCG begin. For instance, she says rather than simply triaging patients and delivering follow-up care at the beginning or end of appointments, nurses are involved with patients right from the start and continually throughout patient visits,
"The setup at Diabetes Care Group is unique in that it is interdisciplinary in every way," Saathoff says. "We have got a team of educators and providers working together to take care of the patient."