Managing Diabetes Through Developing Your Healthcare Team
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, which was originally started as a way to bring awareness to diabetes. This awareness month is a great time for communities across the U.S. to reflect on the impacts of this disease and to find ways to tackle diabetes initiatives. Another main focus of Diabetes Awareness Month this year revolves around managing diabetes through developing your health care team.
The Current State of Diabetes in the U.S.
There are currently around 11.3% or 37 million people in the U.S. living with diabetes, and almost 8.5 million are undiagnosed. Only 1 in 4 Americans meet the treatment goals for diabetes that have been demonstrated to reduce complications and death. Additionally, 38% of adults are prediabetic.
These stats highlight the importance of providers and patients working together to effectively manage diabetes and reduce the risk of long-term complications and other chronic diseases.
How Diabetes Management Has Changed Over the Years
Historically, diabetes management and asking patients to self-monitor their glucose levels at home with finger pricks created a costly and negative experience for many diabetes patients, leading to frustration and anxiety. In part this was because individuals felt ill-equipped to manage their blood glucose independently and there was not an easy way to share that data with a healthcare provider.
However, thanks to the number of mobile apps, wearable devices, and patient services that have been developed, diabetes management has become more efficient and effective for both patients and providers – helping to improve the patient experience, patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
The Types of Connected Device that Can Be Used to Improve Diabetes Management
Virtual care options such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) and connected devices like continuous glucose monitors (CGM) make diabetes management easier for both patients and providers, as they can receive support and iterate on care plans without being within the four walls of a doctor’s office.
Common devices that patients and providers leverage include continuous glucose monitors as well as connected (either cellular or bluetooth) blood glucose monitors or blood pressure cuffs and even smart insulin pens. When data from these devices is connected to a healthcare provider’s electronic health record workflow and combined with other relevant clinical data, providers can look at patient patterns to provide more personalized clinical decisions and give patients a greater sense of support.
The Role of Primary Care Providers in Educating and Working with Patients to Improve Diabetes Management
Primary care providers are often referred to as the quarterback of an individual’s healthcare team, and they play an important role in developing treatment plans and driving optimal outcomes for patients.
This is particularly true for patients with diabetes, as self-managing is a crucial component. In order to make sure patients are effectively managing their diabetes on their own, the care team must ensure patients have the necessary education and understanding of how to properly manage the condition including diet, exercise and medications. Where available, certified diabetes educators are an incredible resource to support patient engagement and management.
When care teams can take the time to educate patients on managing their condition, it not only makes it easier for physicians to quickly prescribe the proper treatment, but also to help patients with self-management and improve their own outcomes.
The Future of Diabetes Management
The prevalence of cardiometabolic conditions like diabetes is the healthcare problem of our generation. However, new models of care delivery like Remote Patient Monitoring and new technology like Continuous Glucose Monitors are making the management of these conditions better for the patient and their doctors. By utilizing such technology, we will be able to solve the quadruple aim of healthcare – better patient outcomes, lower costs, and improved patient and provider satisfaction.