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Robina Foundation Care Guide Project

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Diabetes

Having diabetes means that your body is having problems using the energy from the foods that you eat. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are the most common types of chronic diabetes.

Learn more in our online manual for people with diabetes.

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High blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) causes your heart to pump with greater than normal force to push blood through your blood vessels. Known as "the silent killer," high blood pressure usually has no symptoms. If left untreated, it can cause many health problems.

Learn more in our online manual for people with heart disease.

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Heart failure

Heart failure means your heart isn't pumping blood as efficiently as it should.

Learn more in our online manual for people with heart failure.

Learn more about the
Robina Care Guide Project at healthcarecopilot.com.

Chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure can be deadly if left untreated or unmanaged.

With the support of a grant from the Robina Foundation, we tested a new approach to primary care: using care guides to help patients stay on track with their care plans and manage their health.

Working with a care guide: Bob's story

Bob smiles as his care guide goes over his care plan with him at the doctor's office

After every doctor's appointment, Bob Bourke and his care guide discuss how well he's doing in managing his diabetes.

Bob and Audrey Bourke have been patients at Abbott Northwestern General Medicine Associates' Medicine Clinic for more than a decade. When their doctor, Richard Adair, MD, gave them the option to each meet with a care guide, they didn't hesitate.

Bob meets with his care guide after each appointment. They mainly talk about how well he's doing in managing his diabetes.

"From the first time I met her, I found the visit very helpful," said Bourke. "She asks me about my medications, health habits and lifestyle, and helps to ensure that I maintain a good level on my glucose and blood pressure."

In between doctor appointments, Bourke finds it helpful to have a contact who knows him.

"My wife also has her own care guide and she has found her assistance very helpful," added Bourke. "I would say that all primary care clinics should have someone in the care guide role."

Clinics who participated

Chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure can be deadly if left untreated or unmanaged. However, not everyone understands how important it is to take their medicine, eat right and regularly monitor their symptoms.

For example, 34 percent of Abbott Northwestern General Medicine Associates' Medicine Clinic patients were not meeting their clinical goals in 2008. Allina Health wanted to change statistics like these.

In early 2009, Allina Health received a grant from the Robina Foundation to pilot a new approach to primary care. Three care guides helped 300 Medicine Clinic patients stay on track with their care plans and manage their chronic diseases. After just nine months, these patients had a 34 percent improvement in meeting their clinical goals.

Allina Health had rolled out the care guide pilot to six more clinic locations. It involved 2,100 patients.

close icon
Diabetes

Having diabetes means that your body is having problems using the energy from the foods that you eat. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are the most common types of chronic diabetes.

Learn more in our online manual for people with diabetes.

close icon
High blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) causes your heart to pump with greater than normal force to push blood through your blood vessels. Known as "the silent killer," high blood pressure usually has no symptoms. If left untreated, it can cause many health problems.

Learn more in our online manual for people with heart disease.

close icon
Heart failure

Heart failure means your heart isn't pumping blood as efficiently as it should.

Learn more in our online manual for people with heart failure.

Care CoPilot: Promoting laypersons on care delivery teams


Learn the latest about the Robina Care Guide Project at healthcarecopilot.com.


Allina Health study demonstrates the value of a new type of clinic employee: A non-clinical care guide

Improving the quality of care for patients with chronic diseases is an important goal for the nation's health care system. A Minnesota study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that layperson care guides may be the key to achieving this objective.