It is estimated that 28 million children and adults in the United States (8.5% of the population) have diabetes; many are living with an undiagnosed disease (8.0 million people). Diabetes is associated with severe complications including vascular disease, blindness, kidney disease, ulcers and amputation. Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes. Diabetic foot lesions are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other complication of diabetes, 15% of individuals with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer, one out of four with ulceration will require leg amputation. Early diabetic screening and intervention has been demonstrated to markedly decrease cost of care and the incidence of complications, yet formal comprehensive diabetic management programs are rare.
AZH Centers offers a novel program based on the Sheehan Model which incorporates a one-stop diabetic screening program with an associated proprietary clinical algorithm with individual Plans of Care into standard wound care and vascular medicine clinic protocols while respecting the patient-primary physician relationship. The Sheehan model was developed in response to a key insight that the healthcare systems of the United States are designed for the treatment of acute diseases, mainly hospitalization and procedures, and thus they are ill-suited to help those patients suffering from chronic diseases. AZH Centers emphasized outpatient treatments, home care, and prevention. Ongoing patient support is critical in the management of a chronic disease because many of the changes that patients and families need to make to manage their conditions require continuous effort over longer periods of time.