The following is a summary of “Availability of Evidence-Based Diabetes Programs in U.S. Children’s Hospitals,” published in the July 2023 issue of Primary Care by Hughes, et al.
Diabetes has a widespread impact on individuals throughout their lives, necessitating individual and community-level interventions for prevention and management. Nonprofit hospitals are mandated by current tax law to address community health needs. For a study, researchers sought to evaluate the strategies employed by children’s hospitals in diabetes prevention and care, focusing on evidence-based approaches. They analyzed the most recent Children’s Hospital Needs Assessments and corresponding implementation strategies. Thematic coding was applied to the data.
Among the 233 U.S. children’s hospitals, 29 addressed diabetes in their community benefit initiatives. Of the 130 hospital programs identified, 48 (37%) were aligned with the Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) framework. These programs were centered around prevention (32%), promoting healthy eating (18%), providing education (15%), encouraging physical activity (12%), enhancing quality improvement (11%), and facilitating self-management (5%). Notably, most (85%) interventions did not explicitly focus on reducing health disparities, and none addressed crucial aspects like problem-solving or diabetes technology.
It was evident that a few hospitals were implementing evidence-based approaches for diabetes management, and health disparities were often not targeted in their efforts. Adopting structural, evidence-based strategies remained limited, missing valuable opportunities to lower diabetes prevalence and reduce A1c levels effectively. The study highlighted the need for enhancements in diabetes programming within children’s hospitals to better cater to the needs of their communities.