NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation”, which examines the idea of technology-enabled between-visit engagement to help patients with the prevention and management of diabetes. Download it HERE!
Above all, Discussing Diabetes illustrates the underlying problem in the American healthcare system: the lingering expectation that diabetic patients are expected to “go it alone.” Typically, patients diagnosed with diabetes will go to the doctor, who will then take a bit of time to review their current state of health and provide a brief consultation, followed by a prescription for medication and some advice about adopting a healthier lifestyle. The patient then goes to the pharmacy to fill the prescription and that’s where the physician’s support typically ends — at the very point treatment for diabetes begins. That’s the gap in the system, and nowhere is it more obvious than in the treatment of diabetes.
But improving the collective health of Americans is becoming a priority, and can only be driven by forward-thinking healthcare practitioners who understand that what happens outside the consulting room can be just as important as the diagnosis and advice that is given within it. These doctors and nurses understand that touching the hearts and minds of their diabetic patients by engaging with them between office visits will encourage and inspire them to follow and embrace treatment plans. They believe personalized and ongoing patient engagement will activate positive lifestyle changes that will help people of all ages lead healthier lives.
Healthcare professionals are beginning to embrace this interactive approach for treating patients. According to Discussing Diabetes, one in four (26 percent) healthcare practitioners believe it’s their job to keep patients on track with their treatment programs between practice visits by sending them ongoing reminders and alerts to take medication, check blood sugar, eat right, and exercise. And although more than half (55 percent) of healthcare providers say they don’t currently communicate with patients between visits to provide care, the good news is that they do want to move in this direction. In fact, two out of five healthcare practitioners (38 percent) would like to begin providing this level of patient care between visits in the near future.
It’s not enough to prescribe a treatment plan and tell patients during their regular appointments to change their lifestyle. To help those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes, and to prevent others from developing the disease, healthcare professionals need to activate all of their patients to make positive behavior changes for a healthier life. Ongoing reminders and alerts to take medication, check blood sugars, eat right, and exercise will activate patients to make the changes required to become healthier.