A new UBC Okanagan and Interior Health research collaboration is examining the quality of patient care for children and youth with Type 1 diabetes in the BC interior.
Researchers with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) and Interior Health are undertaking an extensive review of patient outcomes and treatment plans for young people with diabetes, reported over a five-year timeframe.
“Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in children,” says Dr. Christine Voss, CCDPM investigator and assistant professor with UBC’s Department of Pediatrics. “Access and proximity to specialized care, adherence to treatment plans and individual circumstances all factor into successfully managing the disease long-term.”
In BC, more than 2,200 young people live with diabetes, which equates to about two to three of every 1,000 children being affected by this life-threatening disease, says Dr. Voss.
She also notes that patients with Type 1 diabetes must undergo ongoing insulin therapy, frequent and invasive testing and regular appointments with health-care teams. They also have an increased risk of developing other chronic conditions such as thyroid disease.
Interior Health currently has seven Diabetes Education Centres with pediatric services situated across the region that support more than 350 young people with Type 1 diabetes.
Researchers are studying numerous factors that may impact care including clinical treatment options, gender and age differences, socio-economic factors and other environmental influences.
“The research will provide an in-depth picture of how clinical practice guidelines are applied across our health authority,” says Dr. Tom Warshawski, IH medical director for children and youth and the study’s co-principle investigator. “Our ultimate goal is to optimize health and quality of life for children and youth with diabetes.”
The new study is a direct result of the CCDPM’s Clinical Research and Quality Improvement Incubator that supports opportunities for clinicians and allied health professionals to engage in research and quality improvement projects.
“We are thrilled to work with IH clinicians and their research department on projects that will directly impact patient care,” adds Dr. Voss. “The new study also provided opportunities for medical and undergraduate students to collaborate on clinical research.”
The clinical study is also partially funded by a new fellowship from the Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation. The fellowship supports an undergraduate student while working on a clinical research project with a UBC Okanagan investigator and an Interior Health clinician.