India is the global diabetes capital with the highest number of people being affected by this disease here, as per statistics from the International Diabetes Federation, India Chapter. World Health Organization (WHO) projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. Demanding job hours, erratic lifestyles and increasing prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity are some of the major factors leading to diabetes. An estimated one million Indians die each year due to diabetes. Every adult over the age of 40 is at risk, however, awareness about the disease is still low in the country.
Keeping this in mind, Columbia Asia Hospitals today announced the launch of ‘Columbia Diabetes Care Program – Checkmate for Diabetes’. This is the first time a multi-specialty hospital in India is providing a comprehensive, in house diabetes management program. It will aid patients with prevention and treatment options for diabetes. Also, other diabetes related issues like diabetic retinopathy, renal failure, etc. will be assessed and treated or retarded through this program.
On the occasion, the hospital also announced the plan to launch a mobile application that will be available free of cost. A ‘smart’ glucometer can be used for blood sugar level screening, by the patient and all the records would automatically get uploaded and will be accessible through the app. This will not only keep a record of blood sugar monitoring over a period of time, but also intimate the endocrinologist/ diabetic educator, in case of any abnormal report. As part of the Diabetes Care program, the hospital also launched a ‘Diabetes Care Helpline’, which will be supported through a full-fledged Call Center and will help patients and caregivers manage diabetes better. Now one can dial in 1800-208-2222 to raise any queries pertaining to diabetes and get a solution or advice from a diabetes educator. Moreover, if the patient is already using the ‘smart’ glucometer, his blood sugar details automatically gets updated in the app, and in case of any abnormal reports, he will receive a call from this call center to guide on the way forward.
The hospital also plans to launch initiatives where Diabetes tests will be conducted at clinics using mobile units.
“We are also providing diabetic patients with a team of dedicated care providers and equipping them with technology. This program will help doctors to understand the pattern of blood sugar for each patient observed over a period of time, and design appropriate treatment protocol, we have evolved this program with help and support from Diabetacare, BD and Bosch” said Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals.
“We have initiated a program in collaboration with expert Industry partners to impart knowledge and intensive hands-on training to Diabetes Educators. This will help equip them with customized solutions and aid clinicians and people with diabetes who are being initiated on insulin, said Col. Binu Sharma, Sr. V.P. Nursing Services, Columbia Asia Hospitals. The diabetes educators have also been trained in retinal screening and foot examination. They shall use specialized tools to educate and guide the diabetic population. They shall provide and facilitate comprehensive support to our patients.
The hospital will provide dedicated caregivers to help patients with gestational diabetes. These diabetes educators will guide, and train them as advised by the Endocrinologists whenever required, to manage diabetes during pregnancy. Again ‘smart’ glucometers will be given to mothers to enable diabetes educator from the call centre, to touch base, as and when required.
For Type 1 diabetes, which principally affects children and young adults, the hospital is organizing educational sessions for parents and counselling sessions for affected children with specialists to allay their fears and help them lead a normal life.
“Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that can well be kept under control with lifestyle modifications. Life doesn’t stop with diabetes! Several professional sportspersons have continued with their sports after being diagnosed with diabetes. Wasim Akram, Arthur Ashe, Scott Coleman, are just to name a few,” said, Ms. Reeth Abraham, International Athlete and Arjuna Awardee.
“A smart way to stay fit and manage lifestyle diseases is to get involved in at least one sport. Though in a country like India the focus is on academics, and not many aspire to have a career in sports, it is extremely important to engage yourselves and your children into sports, and pursue it as a hobby,” added Reeth.
Talking about the comprehensive Diabetes Care program, Dr. Sunil Rao, Vice President, Operations (South), Columbia Asia Hospitals, said, “Columbia Diabetes Care will be a one stop solution for diabetic patients. Right from endocrinologists, to diabetic educators and counsellors, nutritionists and specialists in Neurology, Vascular Surgery, Ophthalmology, we will provide complete support to our patients. Moreover, being a multi-specialty hospital we will be extending support to patients for any diabetes related co-morbid complications.”
Speaking at the occasion, Vinay Kaul, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing, Columbia Asia Hospitals said, “We are glad to announce the launch of Columbia Diabetes University which is a collaboration based engagement program with care providers in the community. Columbia Asia will institute structured training programs through specialists as well as share its expertise and protocols for diabetes management with all interested clinics in the community.”
“In addition, we will also run an outcome based engagement program with our patients. As part of this program, we will recognize and reward (through cash and non-cash) initiatives taken by patients to control their diabetes” Kaul added.
Dr. Ritesh Raj from NM Medical Clinic congratulated Columbia Asia Hospitals. He said, “I am especially looking forward to collaborating with Columbia Asia under the Columbia Diabetes University.”
The comprehensive diabetes management program will cater to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics as well as for those with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). The program will enable participants to lead a healthy and active life at home and at work.
It is based on a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the challenges of managing diabetes holistically with involvement of specialists, family physicians, support staff and patient/care giver; all enabled through internationally benchmarked protocols and mobile technology based interventions.