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The Globe and Mail

New Sunnybrook Diabetes Clinic Helps Patients Get Treatment Sooner

Sunnybrook's Rapid Diabetes Assessment and Referral (RADAR) clinic is helping Sunnybrook patients get faster care.

Sunnybrook's Division of Endocrinology and the Sunnybrook Diabetes Education Centre (SUNDEC) opened the ambulatory clinic on June 15, 2012. Since that time, the clinic has improved the quality of care for patients with poorly-controlled diabetes by offering intensive therapy in a single visit.

In 2010/2011, more than 1 in 5 patients hospitalized at Sunnybrook had diabetes, and their lengths of stay were 40% longer than for people without diabetes. There was also approximately one emergency department visit per day where the main diagnosis for the visit was diabetes.

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With the introduction of the RADAR clinic, patients with diabetes complications are now seen quickly by a specialized team. The clinic features an interdisciplinary team including endocrinologists, nurses, dietitians and a nurse practitioner. One unique aspect of the RADAR clinic is that it also features a coordinated appointment with all of these health care providers.

"It is great patients are able to be seen by the entire team during their first visit," says Yinka Macaulay, Program Evaluator for the RADAR clinic. "I think patients really appreciate the coordinated or one-stop shop care the clinic provides."

"My experience at the RADAR clinic was excellent," says Marco Cerqua, the clinic's first patient. "They explained a lot of things I did not know. I like the way they take care of people."

Gail Carnegie is a patient who was seen at the RADAR clinic in October. "I was so impressed by the efficiency of the RADAR clinic. The day I came into the emergency department and they took some tests, I was referred to the clinic so quickly. Diabetes does not run in my family, so with everything being so new to me, the information and monitoring I received were great. Even the follow up with my nurse has been terrific!"

Currently available to internal Sunnybrook patients, the RADAR clinic allows patients with poorly controlled blood sugar to be treated within days of referral.  In comparison, referrals to an individual endocrinologist may take several months.

"We are excited the RADAR clinic is now open," says Dr. Baiju Shah, an endocrinologist with the RADAR clinic. "Diabetes is a chronic disease, which if left untreated and unmanaged, could lead to serious complications. Through intensive treatment and education at the RADAR clinic, our goal is to improve diabetes self-management and patient outcomes."

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