Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute To Provide Education, Training to Health Professionals

With mounting evidence that many health professionals lack the training and skills to combat the nation's growing epidemic of diabetes, the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute, LLC opened its first training center in the U.S. to improve how practitioners deliver diabetes care in local communities.

The new facility, based in Silicon Valley, will provide comprehensive training each year for thousands of community-based nurses, physician assistants, diabetes educators and other health professionals using a curriculum developed with national diabetes organizations and academic centers. It addresses an acute shortage of skills training in diabetes management at the community level, which practitioners cite as one of the major obstacles to improving patient outcomes.

"At a time when the costs for diabetes in this country are estimated to be $174 billion annually, the nation needs new strategies to raise the level of care for people with diabetes, including stepped-up education and hands-on training of health professionals working at the local level," said former Acting U.S. Surgeon General, Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., who now serves as the Institute's chairman. "Through this new training center, we will arm those on the front lines in delivering diabetes care with the latest information and practical skills so they can help their patients live healthier, longer lives."

In conjunction with the opening of the new center, the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute, LLC – joined by Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health – convened a national Town Hall where leading diabetes experts evaluated the state of diabetes care in this country. Agreeing that diabetes is reaching crisis levels, the experts cautioned that if present trends continue, one in three Americans, and one in two minorities, born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. According to experts participating in the Town Hall, reversing these trends will require addressing the many barriers that are preventing patients and providers from achieving established treatment goals.

To identify these barriers, the new Institute recently underwrote a national survey aimed at assessing the issues and needs of health professionals who regularly treat diabetes patients at the community level. Conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland, the survey reviewed the attitudes of 251 practitioners – physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified diabetes educators – and found growing concern about the ability of health professionals to improve patient outcomes. Virtually all respondents (94 percent) say they are very worried about the impact of diabetes in their communities and more than nine in ten (91 percent) report diabetes rates have increased in their localities over the last five years. In fact, 95 percent of those surveyed consider diabetes an epidemic in their community.

But as the prevalence of diabetes increases, health professionals worry that not enough attention is being paid to diabetes management at the community level, a problem cited by 83 percent of respondents. As a consequence, these practitioners cite increasing obstacles to providing better diabetes care. Almost four in five (78 percent) identify the lack of early screenings for diabetes as a cause for the complications their patients face when they are eventually diagnosed.

Practitioners also worry about a lack of funding for community education programs and 23 percent of respondents cite this problem as the single most important obstacle to improving diabetes care. In fact, 96 percent of respondents said that additional resources or funding for diabetes management would improve quality of care for diabetes patients in their community.

Compounding the problem, health professionals identified several cost issues that are barriers to patients receiving adequate diabetes care in their communities. A major problem, according to practitioners, is patient concerns about the costs of diabetes care (93 percent), such as patients not getting reimbursed for all the costs associated with diabetes monitoring supplies and medications (90 percent). Practitioners also cite lack of preventive care (90 percent), limited access to healthier foods (84 percent) and insufficient reimbursement for diabetes educators (80 percent) as obstacles to patients receiving quality diabetes care.

To reduce these barriers, the majority of practitioners surveyed cited a number of things that would improve the quality of care, such as better information that translates practice guidelines into real life situations (94 percent), greater access to skills training (90 percent), offering additional continuing medical education about diabetes (89 percent), and having timely and updated information on best practices (88 percent).

Practitioners also say having streamlined procedures for reimbursement (93 percent), having more time and reimbursement for providing patient counseling (92 percent), and more doctor-patient interaction (86 percent) will improve the quality of care for diabetes patients.

In light of these findings, the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute, LLC has built a state-of-the-art training center where, twice a week, the Institute will offer health care professionals a two-day intensive course that emphasizes training on innovative practice models and ways to use Johnson & Johnson companies' existing diabetes tools and technologies in real time to solve patient problems. National diabetes specialists developed the curriculum and will teach specific courses, and the Institute will underwrite the program costs for those health care professionals that attend.

Besides endorsing the need for more resources for skills training in diabetes management, national and state government officials and diabetes leaders attending the Town Hall also called for more prevention and screening initiatives to identify the third of all people with diabetes whose disease is undiagnosed and additional surveillance programs to identify gaps in care at the community level. Diabetes leaders also advocate a new model for diabetes care called the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, which is now being used by health organizations in 31 states and nine countries, including diabetes treatment facilities. This model utilizes a community-based patient education program to improve the ability of patients to take care of their own health.

In addition to the new training center in the U.S., the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute also operates a training facility in Japan and, by mid-2008, it will open new centers in China and France. Future plans also call for expanded reach within countries and across the globe via distance learning offerings. Ultimately, the Institute’s graduation of exceptionally skilled professionals will provide an opportunity for a global network of alumni to link with one another through the Institute, sharing information and insights on diabetes care.

About Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute
The Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute is a new global initiative that is intended to serve as a home for the diabetes family and a trusted place of diabetes learning that becomes a catalyst for diabetes innovation, improved care and better outcomes worldwide. Through the Institute, Johnson & Johnson is opening and operating state-of-the-art instructional facilities around the world to provide health professionals with education and training aimed at improving diabetes patients' outcomes by working at the community level. In each country, thousands of health care professionals will receive customized training to meet the needs of patients and providers in their region. For more information, visit http://www.jnj.com.

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