University of Virginia Health System has opened an expanded outpatient clinic to help patients with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent patients with type 2 diabetes more easily obtain appropriate technology to effectively manage their condition. It is among just a handful of similar clinics in the U.S. and builds off UVA’s groundbreaking research that seeks to better manage this chronic disease.
The Advanced Diabetes Management Clinic is now open at 183 Spotnap Road in Charlottesville, staffed by a team of five endocrinologists, a nurse practitioner and a certified diabetes educator along with support staff. The clinic is open Mondays, Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, with additional days set aside for classes to educate patients on how to effectively use these diabetes-management devices.
“We’ll fit you with the right technology and work with your insurer to get all necessary devices or supplies approved expeditiously,” said Ananda Basu, MD, a UVA endocrinologist and the clinic’s director.
Nurse practitioner Mary Voelmle, FNP, works closely with insurance providers to streamline the approval process for patients to receive diabetes management devices such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, with the goal of shortening the approval timeline from weeks or months to several days. “Our team works hard to educate patients and optimize the therapies available through these devices,” she said.
The clinic now serves adult patients, Basu said, and they are considering expanding its services adolescents in the near future.
Building on UVA’s Leading-Edge Research
The clinic is part of UVA’s ongoing work to better control type 1 diabetes through the use of state-of-the-art technology and effective medications. UVA’s Center for Diabetes Technology has developed an artificial pancreas to automatically monitor and regulate blood-sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes. The device is now undergoing its final round of clinical trials. If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the artificial pancreas will also be available through UVA’s Advanced Diabetes Management Clinic.
The Center for Diabetes Technology is also home to the Virginia Precision Individualized Medicine for Diabetes (PrIMeD) Project, which has received $16.9 million from UVA’s Strategic Investment Fund to develop ways to screen, control and monitor type 1 diabetes in Virginia. The project’s goals include genetic risk screening for all Virginia children under age 5, customized monitoring and treatment plans developed through computerized approaches and newly planned immunotherapies that could restore the body’s ability to make insulin.
“It is exciting that our research efforts have led to an artificial pancreas system that is in the final stages of large-scale clinical testing,” said Boris Kovatchev, PhD, director of the Center for Diabetes Technology. “Once our clinical trials are complete and uponFDA approval, we hope to offer the artificial pancreas among the available options for patients at the UVA Advanced Diabetes Management Clinic.”