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A better patient experience can drive better diabetes care results


Endocrine Society urges a shift in diabetes care by emphasizing the importance of patient experience.

Better patient experiences lead to better outcomes: ©Syda Productions - stock.adobe.com

Better patient experiences lead to better outcomes: ©Syda Productions - stock.adobe.com

In a position statement published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, health care providers are urged to look beyond clinical numbers and consider the patient experience to enhance the quality of care for individuals with diabetes. The statement, a consensus from two virtual roundtables held in 2022, highlights the collaboration of prominent organizations and advocates for a more holistic approach to managing diabetes, which affects over 500 million people worldwide.

Representatives from key organizations, including the American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians, American Diabetes Association, and patient advocacy groups like DiabetesSisters and Taking Control of Your Diabetes, came together to address the multifaceted challenges faced by those living with diabetes.

The statement underscores the need for effective two-way communication between health care providers and individuals with diabetes, emphasizing shared understanding of treatment plans and goals. Rita R. Kalyani, M.D., M.H.S., Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who chaired the position statement, emphasizes the importance of considering each patient's health literacy and cultural background when discussing treatment options.

Managing diabetes involves lifelong lifestyle changes, making daily tasks such as blood glucose monitoring, dietary and exercise management, and medication oversight essential. The statement encourages health care providers to explain treatment options, discuss potential barriers, and tailor care to individual needs to improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

Recognizing the psychosocial impact of diabetes, the statement addresses the elevated risk of mental disorders for individuals with diabetes. Health care providers are urged to identify and address stressors, ensuring timely mental health referrals when appropriate, to enhance patient comfort and participation in their care.

The position statement offers a comprehensive framework for optimizing health outcomes:

  • Use of person-centered language in the health care setting
  • Ensuring that referrals to diabetes self-management and support service programs are timely and accessible to all people with diabetes.
  • Effectively navigating available therapeutic options together and explaining complex regimens to people with diabetes to encourage them to take medication as prescribed.
  • Considering ways to adjust an individual’s treatment plan in a timely manner if they aren’t meeting therapeutic goals to prevent therapeutic inertia.
  • Discussing strategies for assessment of hypoglycemia—low blood glucose episodes that can be dangerous—as well as prevention and treatment of hypoglycemia.
  • Improving cardiovascular and renal outcomes using newer therapeutic options.
  • Using telehealth in the appropriate clinical setting.
  • Using and incorporating diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems into the diabetes management plan, when appropriate.

As the diabetes landscape evolves, the statement emphasizes the ongoing need for new tools and strategies for both health care providers and individuals with diabetes to address common challenges, fostering a patient-centered approach to diabetes care.

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