BOSTON -- July 2, 2012 -- Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have entered into a collaboration between the two institutions to provide specialty care for people with diabetes, a significant and growing public health issue.

Under the agreement just signed, Joslin physicians provide medical management of patients hospitalized at BIDMC. Specialists from Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC, who are also party to the agreement, will continue to be preferred providers for Joslin patients needing specialty care.

“Diabetes is an enormous and growing public health issue, which is why our relationship with Joslin is so important to our patients and community,” said BIDMC President and CEO Kevin Tabb, MD. “Working together, we are committed to providing the best diabetes care management in the country.”

“Our partnership with BIDMC is a wonderful example of our “Joslin Inside” program, in that it provides BIDMC patients care from Joslin specialists who have the broadest and deepest experience with diabetes and diabetes-related complications,” says Joslin President & CEO John L. Brooks III. “We value this relationship and look forward to demonstrating its clinical value, as well as how we can collaboratively reduce costs while improving outcomes.”

The agreement means clinicians from BIDMC and Joslin will work together to ensure appropriate medical and surgical consultations and to establish benchmarks for quality improvement. The agreement also calls for further enhancements of the electronic medical record system that links inpatient and outpatient records for joint BIDMC-Joslin patients.

There is also a commitment to continue the Joslin-BIDMC Endocrine and Nephrology Fellowship Program and explore joint opportunities in continuing medical education.

BIDMC and Joslin have a relationship that goes back to when New England Deaconess Hospital created a permanent medical and surgical staff, and Elliott P. Joslin, MD, was named principal physician. The first administration of insulin in New England took place at the Deaconess Hospital in 1922.

Joslin Clinic offers unique expertise in caring for adults and children with diabetes and their families, as well as proven disease management techniques for identifying patients at risk for developing medical complications and preventing those complications, including diabetic eye disease through Joslin’s Beetham Eye Institute, and diabetic renal disease through the specialty nephrology program. BIDMC offers an extensive pool of physician specialists who have expertise in treating many other complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, ,neuropathy and vascular complications. Joslin and BIDMC also work collaboratively to treat women who have or who develop diabetes during pregnancy.

Diabetes is a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes, eye disease and blindness, and other devastating and costly complications, and there is close collaboration in the treatment of these patients between BIDMC and the Joslin. Research has clearly demonstrated that expert diabetes care that keeps blood glucose near normal can reduce the risks of developing complications, and can markedly slow the rate at which complications progress.

Successful diabetes management relies heavily on the patient, primary care physician and specialized diabetes healthcare team – including physicians, nurses, dietitians, educators and exercise physiologists – working together to coordinate medication (insulin and other drugs that help the body produce and use insulin) with diet, exercise and regular blood glucose monitoring to achieve optimal diabetes control.