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Diabetes white paper: The world’s weightiest problem

Tackling a hefty challenge head-on

The WHO estimates that 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014 – nearly a fourfold increase since 1980. Moreover the global incidence of the disease has nearly doubled in that time, growing from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent of the world population. (Not surprisingly, rates of obesity — a key precursor of the disease — have also more than doubled during the same period, according to the WHO.) And diabetes is no longer just a problem in wealthy countries; today, it is actually increasing faster in low- and moderate-income countries, which now account for two-thirds of diabetes cases worldwide. [1],

Yet the disease is largely preventable and controllable. We recently released our newest clinical white paper, Diabetes: The world’s weightiest problem, which explores this major concern.

The tipping point

Based on extensive research and Aetna International member data, the paper outlines:

  • The alarming rise in diabetes and pre-diabetes diagnoses across the globe as well as the high estimates of undiagnosed cases
  • The challenges faced by specific regions, including doctor scarcity, low screening rates, late-stage diagnoses, insufficient prevention strategies and underequipped treatment facilities
  • Diabetes’ economic burden beyond the significant direct medical costs, such as lower employee productivity, more work-related errors, increased absenteeism and higher insurance costs 

At Aetna International, we are calling for a revolution in the way health care is managed and delivered. The paper highlights how we are identifying at-risk members and providing them with tailored support to help them track and understand their condition. We have also developed innovative tools such as our new virtual care service – a comprehensive ecosystem that allows access to end-to-end medical services, and provides individuals with access to a uniquely integrated health care journey.

“We believe that by fundamentally changing the way health care is managed and delivered, innovation and technology can help to turn the tide – not just on diabetes but also on a spectrum of other diseases and conditions.  We are calling for others to join us in revolutionizing the global healthcare system,” says Dr. Stella George, Senior Medical Director, Aetna International. 

About the authors

Dr. Stella George, Senior Medical, Director Aetna International

Dr. George is the Head of Care Management (Americas) and is responsible for the delivery of all of our care management programs through her team’s global clinical operations. She is responsible for driving the care management strategy. She has oversight on the clinical program design which is focused on developing member-centric innovative programs focused on increasing member engagement and improving health outcomes.

Dr. Lori Stetz, Senior Medical Director, Aetna International

As Senior Medical Director for Aetna International, Dr. Lori Stetz provides guidance, support, and medical leadership for all care management activities around the globe. Lori drives medical policy, and actively participates in strategic planning and program and product development in concurrence with changing markets and technologies. Lori also manages Aetna International’s emergency evacuation program, helping to ensure appropriate health care delivery for our members around the globe.

Dr. Mitesh Patel, Medical Director, Aetna International

As Medical Director for Aetna International, Dr. Patel provides guidance, support, and medical leadership for care management activities in Europe. Dr. Patel also manages Aetna International’s emergency evacuation program, helping to ensure appropriate health care delivery for our members around the globe.

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You have been redirected to an Aetna International site. InterGlobal is now part of Aetna, one of the largest and most innovative providers of international medical insurance. We have combined our businesses to create one market-leading health care benefits company. This means we can better serve people who depend on Aetna International and InterGlobal to meet their health and wellness needs.

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