ROCHESTER, Minn. — June 4, 2012. An innovative model of diabetes care developed in southeastern Minnesota will be demonstrated at a national health forum this week in Washington, D.C. The new patient-centered approach uses a website that helps patients identify their most urgent needs — physical, emotional or financial — and then finds the most effective ways to address them. The goal is to use technology to improve the delivery and outcomes of diabetes care, while lowering the cost of managing this chronic condition. The new model of care was developed by the SE Minnesota Beacon Program, a collaboration of professional health groups including Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Health System, Olmsted Medical Center, Winona Health, Allina Health and public health departments in 11 counties. The technology will be demonstrated June 5–6 at the third annual conference of the Health Data Initiative, a public-private collaboration started by the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "It is an honor to be asked to demonstrate our technology at this highly visible conference," says Lacey Hart, SE Minnesota Beacon Program director. "We hope that our success can help to provide better outcomes and more cost-effective treatment for people with diabetes throughout the country." Diabetes affects about 24 million Americans and is one of the biggest drivers of health costs. SE Minnesota Beacon's key innovation is to focus on patients' self-identified needs, or Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO). "We have compiled substantial evidence that PROs are indeed credible targets for diabetes assessment and intervention," says Jeff Sloan, Ph.D., a health sciences researcher at Mayo Clinic who led the team that developed the new diabetes care model. "In fact, we have shown that the scientific value of many PROs is actually superior to many commonly used laboratory and clinical outcome variables." In the Beacon model, PROs guide specific interventions aimed at improving patients' quality of life. The Diabetes PROQOL website, accessible by smartphones, first asks patients to identify their "single biggest concern right now." Ten options are offered, including not only monitoring health (measuring blood sugar, for example) but also personal relationships, emotional health and money. Once a category is chosen, the patient answers a few clarifying questions. For example, under money, patients are asked if they cut pills in half or skip doses of medication to save money. The questionnaire takes about a minute to complete.