FRIDAY, July 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — For patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), travel costs relating to hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) screening constitute a substantial cost item, and self-monitoring can reduce costs, according to a study published in the July issue of the International Journal of Medical Informatics.

Aapeli Leminen, from the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu, and colleagues obtained patient data from a regional electronic patient database and developed a georeferenced cost model that could be used to measure health care accessibility and patient travel and time costs. The model was used to examine whether increasing self-monitoring and implementing electronic feedback practices between health care staff and patients resulted in cost savings for T2DM patient follow-up.

The researchers found that the average annual total costs were $297 per patient for T2DM follow-up screening of HbA1c for 9,070 patients conforming to the national clinical guidelines. Twenty-one percent of the total costs were accounted for by combined travel and time costs. The average annual total costs of HbA1c screening could be reduced by 57 percent to $129 per patient with implementation of self-monitoring for half of the follow-up still within guidelines.

“Even more savings in both travel costs and health care costs of T2DM can be achieved by utilizing more self-monitoring and electronic feedback practices,” the authors write. “Additionally, the cost model composed in the study can be developed and expanded further to address other health care processes and patient groups.”

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