UT System Improving Diabetes Care

The University of Texas System www.utsystem.edu is building an ecosystem to fight diabetes with technology to provide better medical care and change lifestyles. The Diabetes and Obesity Control (Project DOC), the flagship project of the UT System’s Institute for Health Transformation, has been approved for $15 million to continue funding the project.

Project DOC aims to use social mobile and cloud technology to develop healthcare delivery tools customized for individual diabetes patients. These innovative solutions have the potential to improve quality, access, and cost of care throughout Texas.

Almost 30 percent of South Texans are diagnosed with diabetes which is one of the highest rates in the nation. In 2013, $19 billion was spent on direct cost to care for diabetic patients in the state. Roughly 70,000 people with diabetes reside in lower Rio Grande Valley, a South Texas region where access to healthcare is limited by high rates of poverty, high rates of uninsured patients, and a severe shortage of physicians.

The goal is to help diabetics by demonstrating that patient data could be collected from wearable and remote monitoring services as well as patient self-reported information on mobile apps. It was determined that Project DOC has the necessary technical and operational capabilities to integrate data sets with EMRs on a secure data platform on the cloud.

In order to achieve improved health outcomes, the project will collaborate with public and private-sector partners to design an ecosystem that will include care delivery providers, patients, family members, community members, and employers.

Partners will also include community programs and local retail businesses to help engage patients, incentivize them and reinforce changes in their behavior, so they will stay healthy by improving their diets, exercising more, and taking medications regularly.

The UT System is also working hard to get new and more effective drugs to patients faster by establishing a clinical trials network. The “Clinical Trials Network” will coordinate clinical trials among multiple institutions to bring access to more patients than any single institution can provide. This should shorten the time it typically takes to complete a clinical trial.

Initial partnering institutions include UT Medical Branch at Galveston, UT Health in Houston, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, and UT Southwestern Medical Center. As the network develops, additional UT institutions will be included.

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