Three ways to increase compliance among diabetic patients
Getting early control of diabetes should be an important goal for both healthcare providers and patients. Large clinical trials—The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (type 1 diabetes) and the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (type 2 diabetes)—have found that getting the disease under control early on has immediate benefits.
But, more importantly, researchers have found that among patients who proactively addressed diabetes problems early on, five to 12 years later the benefits of that early attention persisted or became even better, despite the fact that glucose control was no longer as good.
“Early investment equates to long-term benefits,” says Jay H. Shubrook, DO, director of Diabetes Services and Clinical Research, and professor and diabetologist, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Vallejo, California.
Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of complications including kidney disease, eye disease, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. “Diabetic patients can avoid many of these complications by adhering to treatment guidelines,” says Stephenie Lucas, MD, endocrinologist, Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, Michigan. “This is especially important now because many new medications and treatment modalities make it easier to achieve and maintain diabetic guidelines.”
1. Provide patients with a variety of care options
Unlike other diseases, it is estimated that 90% to 95% of diabetes care requires self-care. In an effort to get patients to comply with treatment plans, Shubrook’s institution makes great efforts to provide patients with a variety of methods to obtain care.
For example, they offer one-on-one appointments, group appointments, and different classes with peers. “We find that some patients prefer to hear from their contemporaries,” he says. “We have also found that our team approach—which includes osteopathic physicians, physician assistants, and pharmacists—provides patients with different types of information and as a team we learn much more.
Finally, we have invested time and effort to better understand our patients’ health literacy numeracy and food security (i.e., their ability to afford and have access to fresh food) so we can tailor our message as specifically as possible to each patient.”