The Power to Save a Life: EDC Program Prevents Heart Attack in West Virginia Man

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Heart in chest
Heart in chest

At least one Medicare beneficiary credits the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program with helping him save his own life.

A West Virginia man who participated in EDC courses offered by Quality Insights –the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Louisiana – credited what he learned in class and from a course pamphlet in helping him identify the early signs of a heart attack.

The day after he discussed the pamphlet information with his instructor, the man experienced one of the non-traditional symptoms he had learned about. Recognizing this symptom prompted him to seek medical attention in time to prevent a life-threatening emergency. He drove himself to the hospital and had five bypasses within the week.

His doctor told him that if he had waited any longer, he may not have had a successful outcome,” said Mitzi Vince, communications specialist at Quality Insights.

The beneficiary said if he had not been to the EDC class, he probably would have ignored the symptom, thinking it was just indigestion.”

EDC course materials include a Diabetes Care and You” pamphlet. The handout is used to help Medicare beneficiaries learn about the symptoms of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, stroke and heart attack, and how these conditions relate to diabetes. 

It serves to supplement the preventative class instruction that the six-week EDC course offers diabetic and pre-diabetic patients and their caregivers.

QIN-QIOs and their partners teach EDC courses using diabetes self-management curricula from Stanford University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. They train beneficiaries to effectively self-manage their diabetes through nutrition, exercise, self-monitoring, medications and community resources. Instructors use a teach-back method to review course content and ask participants to answer questions based on what they learned from class materials. 

Vince said research and experience have shown that some patients can immediately forget a significant percentage of medical information when they leave an appointment, class or meeting. By asking participants to explain – in their own words – the content of the pamphlet, they are better positioned to understand what they are learning. 

The teach-back method helps instructors confirm that they have taught participants the information that they need to know in a way that they understand and will remember,” Vince said.

For Quality Insights, this EDC success story is an important factor in evaluating the effectiveness of the QIN-QIO’s preventative education curricula. It demonstrates how collaborative, classroom-based learning and easy-to-understand instructional materials can impact beneficiary health with proven, life-saving results.