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The second phase of a diabetes prevention partnership between UW Medicine and the YMCA of Greater Seattle kicks off in the first half of 2018 and will explore sending direct messaging or e-referrals of at-risk patients from EPIC to the YMCA’s AthenaNet platform. Patients can then enroll in the Y’s yearlong Diabetes Prevention Program to make lifestyle changes, improve their heath and reduce their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“This program and partnership has been a great way to advance our mission of improving the health of the public and shifting from the focus of ‘sick care’ to ‘healthy care’,” said Van Chaudhari, the administrator of Population Health Management at UW Medicine. “It’s been a great way to engage our patients in community-based settings and participate in wellness and preventative care programs; and with the YMCA reporting that blacks and Latinos are nearly two times more likely to develop diabetes, this program also supports our commitment to healthcare equity.”

The YMCA of Greater Seattle has worked closely over the past few years with the UW Neighborhood Clinics and Valley Medical Center to identify shared goals around population health improvement. The first phase of the program has focused on primary care practitioners identifying patients at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If those patients are interested in learning more about the diabetes prevention program, or even enrolling, the provider sends a fax referral to a participating YMCA.

In Washington state, more than 11 percent of adults have diabetes. More than a third of adults have prediabetes (higher than normal levels of blood sugar, which can develop into Type 2 within five years without intervention). Given the program’s national success – cases of Type 2 diabetes have been reduced by as much as 71 percent for ages 60 and up – UW Medicine and the YMCA of Greater Seattle are poised to make a real difference in people’s lives here, said Sally Sundar, director of Health Integration and Transformation for YMCA of Greater Seattle.

“We appreciate the openness to innovation at UW that creates a space for community-based organizations like ours to work with our clinical partners in reaching people with the resources they need in the places they want to receive them,” Sundar said. “We are excited to strengthen our partnership through the introduction of e-referrals, a function that will allow for more efficient connections to be made to YMCA programs and resources for at-risk patients and make the referral process as seamless as possible for providers involved.”

Resource links:

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program

CDC: National Diabetes Prevention Program


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