Province announces support for diabetes research project (08/10/29)

NB 1590

Oct. 29, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - A large-scale research project aimed at improving the health of New Brunswickers with Type 2 diabetes was announced today by Health Minister Michael Murphy. The initiative is in keeping with the Provincial Health Plan, 2008-12.

"In the provincial health plan, we made commitments to improve chronic disease management as well as to promote and support health research in New Brunswick," said Murphy. "Our support for this project addresses both commitments."

The project is led by Dr. Christine Pippy, a Saint John-based nephrologist. The project will run for at least three years. It involves giving family practitioners tools to manage better the care of patients with diabetes and also providing family doctors and their patients with quicker access to a team of specialists as required.

The first element is an electronic patient management tool that gives family physicians easy access to the latest treatment guidelines for patients. The tool was developed jointly by the research team and the AnyWare Group of Saint John. It has the potential to be used around the world.

The second major element involves access to a multidisciplinary team of specialists for patients requiring more complex care. Family doctors will have the option to send patients to a rapid referral clinic where they will have access to specialist physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers and dietitians.

During the project, Pippy and team members will measure whether the multi-system disease management model will improve diabetes care.

"The overall goal of the project is to improve the health of New Brunswickers with Type 2 diabetes by slowing, stopping or even preventing the progression of their diabetes and related illnesses such as kidney or heart disease," said Pippy. "Our research team will be tracking improvements in patients' conditions such as a reduction in blood pressure and also decreased resource utilization, cost avoidance and physician and patient satisfaction."

Patients with diabetes and related conditions such as kidney or heart disease are the largest consumers of health-care services. Studies have demonstrated that the impact of diabetes, in terms of costs to both the health-care system and to the individual, can be significantly reduced through appropriate clinical care and better management by the patient.

Provincial support for the research project includes the provision of clinic space for the duration of the project. The clinic, located in Saint John, will include four examination rooms as well as office space for clinicians and researchers.

Pippy also recognized other supporters of the project, including more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies.

The overall incidence of diabetes in Canada and world-wide is expected to double by 2030. Almost 50,000 New Brunswickers are diagnosed with diabetes.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522; Anthony Bamford, research project member, 506-650-2652.