Israel is one of the few countries that have a national program for quality assessment of community healthcare. We aimed to evaluate whether improved performance in diabetes care was associated with improved health of diabetic patients on a national level.
We conducted a nationwide ecological study estimating improvements in diabetes-related quality indicators and health outcomes. We estimated both correlations between composite measures of diabetes-related quality indicators and selected outcomes, and assessed through a joinpoint analysis whether trends in selected outcomes changed 4 years after the inception of the national program.
Between 2002 and 2010, the prevalence of diabetes in Israeli adults increased from 4.8% to 7.4%. During these years, an improvement was noticed in most quality indicators (from 53% to 75% for the composite score). Declines were noted in rates of blindness, diabetes-related end-stage kidney disease, lower limbs amputations and diabetes-related mortality. Significant accelerations in decline were noted for amputations in men and diabetes-related mortality in both Arab men and women 4 years after the inception of the national program.
This study suggests that Israel’s national program for quality indicators in diabetes care in the community has probably had a significant impact on the health status of the whole population and may have contributed to narrowing gaps in life expectancy between Israeli Jews and Arabs. Future studies based on individual-level data are needed to confirm these results.