Study may link quality and cost of care for diabetics

Newly hired associate professor in the College of Public Health Troy Quast has brought with him from Houston a study into the relationship between quality of care and relative resource use in diabetic patients. 

The study consisted of 813 people enrolled in commercial insurance plans and studied their quality of care from 2009-2011. Quast found that the results taken as a whole are consistent with older data but described individual years as having a large enough difference to warrant further study.

Resources are divided into two categories: medical services and ambulatory pharmacy services. Medical services include such things as procedure, surgery, evaluation and management services. The actual physician services are excluded from the medical services category. Ambulatory pharmacy refers to the management of medication and of direct patient care involving medicine.

The year-to-year data shows that quality of care and resource use are negatively correlated, for inpatients in particular. This means there could be a chance to decrease resource use according to Quast.

The relationship varied by which year, plan type and region the individual was in during the time of data gathering. In order to fully realize a study that can prove causality between quality and cost, Quast said more time and money is necessary.