Technology is changing the way providers help patients manage diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 100 million U.S. adults have diabetes. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the most difficult and expensive chronic conditions to treat, especially since so much of the management happens outside of a doctor’s office. However, between-visit communication can significantly improve patients’ knowledge and confidence in managing their diabetes at home. Best of all, patients say that they want more communication from their providers. Eighty eight percent of patients want healthcare providers to send them automated communications – such as text, voice or email reminders – to encourage them to take actions to improve their health.
Here are five ways healthcare organizations can use automated communications to help patients manage their diabetes:
- Educate Patients about Risks & Symptoms – An estimated 7.2 million adults are undiagnosed, according to the CDC. Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of patients developing complications in the future. Providers can send automated health risk assessments to at-risk patients faster and more conveniently via texts or emails. Patients receive the notifications electronically, and it only takes a few minutes for them to complete the survey, providing the data their care team needs to develop an individualized care plan.
- Encourage Preventive Care – Sometimes patients need a gentle nudge when it comes to preventive care. Nearly 1 in 4 patients don’t know when they are due for a screening. Automated wellness reminders can encourage patients to take action and become more involved in their health. Providers can use this technology to send patient-specific reminders regarding screenings, preventive exams and wellness check-ups.
- Help Patients Stay on Track with Medications – Are patients taking their medications as prescribed? If not, why? U.S. Pharmacist estimates that patient adherence to chronic medications is 50%. It’s not always easy to understand why patients don’t take medications as directed, but automated medication adherence surveys can provide valuable insight into why patients aren’t sticking to their health plan.
- Promote Fitness & A Healthy Diet – Learning to eat well-balanced meals and how to lose weight and keep it off safely are critical life skills for diabetic patients. The American Diabetes Organization offers a multitude of meal plans, recipes, food tips, and exercise and weight loss advice that providers can share with patients on their website, by sending automated text messages and emails, and even with their practice’s on-hold messaging.
- Warn Patients about Complications – It’s important for patients to understand the multitude of complications that can be caused by not properly managing their diabetes and to be aware of symptoms that indicate serious health problems. Providers can deliver this information along with automated preventive and wellness reminders. Another way to inform patients about potential complications with their chronic condition is to share detailed infographics (like the one in this blog) through social media posts.
A chronic disease management plan that is supported with a combination of technology-enabled between-visit communications and in-person visits delivers a higher quality of care, and an automated, multi-channel communication strategy allows providers to reach patients on their terms and through their preferred channel, seamlessly and effortlessly.
For more ways to use patient engagement technology to manage chronic conditions, download our free report, “Technology-Enabled Communications: The Key to Connected Healthcare.”