West Corporation

Posted on October 8, 2014 by West Corporation 

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Developing right motivational tools and techniques as important as educating patients to ensure health management achievements match health management goals

  • TeleVox survey shows that 63% of diabetic patients say their weight has had a negative impact on their health and 64% say they could do a better job of managing their weight.
  • 96% of patients with diabetes have attempted to manage their weight through diet in the past, but 78% have been unsuccessful or only partially successful.
  • Pleasure outweighs fear for the majority of patients who say they are motivated to make lifestyle changes by achieving positive goals rather than avoiding negative outcomes.
  • 38% of diabetic patients would be happy to receive weight management tips and encouragement via text, email and phone from doctors between practice visits.
  • 43% of diabetic patients are receptive to similar communications to help manage their children’s weight.

MOBILE, Ala., October 8, 2014 — As recent reports from the CDC show that someone in America is diagnosed with diabetes every 17 seconds, TeleVox Software, a leading provider of patient engagement communications (EC) services, today released a Healthy World Report titled, Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation. The report addresses the essential role that healthcare outside the exam room plays in managing diabetes, considers the best way to motivate diabetic patients to gain more control over their health, and identifies an increasingly important role for communication technology.

Allison Hart, Director of the TeleVox Healthy World Initiative, said of the report, “Recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control show that diabetes and prediabetes continue to be a huge problem for individual Americans, their families and our healthcare system. The Discussing Diabetes report shows that the majority understand the health implications of diabetes and what can be done to reduce its impact. Where people struggle is putting healthy behavior action plans into action and then sticking to them. Discussing Diabetes shows the vital role that digital communications between doctors and patients can play in activating patients and helping them overcome that motivation gap.”

Diabetes and weight — the factor Americans can control

Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation shows that the majority of Americans believe that the weight of the nation and its children is a significant problem facing the country. Although weight is not the only cause of diabetes, it is the one over which people have the most control, and not surprisingly, 61 percent of the general population and 67 percent of diabetic patients believe that adult obesity is a problem. Sixty-five and 66 percent respectively believe that childhood obesity is a problem.

Diabetic patients are also highly likely to say that their own weight has had a negative affect on their own health. Three quarters (77 percent) consider themselves to be overweight or obese, and 63 percent say that their weight has been detrimental to their health. In fact, 82 percent have discussed their weight at least once with a doctor. It is not surprising then that nearly every patient with diabetes (96 percent) has tried to manage their weight through diet at some point in their lives. Discussing Diabetes shows that serial dieting is common: 63 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes have attempted to diet five times or more.

However, Discussing Diabetes also shows that 64 percent of diabetic patients feel they could do a better job of managing their weight and exercising on a regular basis. More than half said they could do a better job at incorporating healthier foods into their diet and managing portion control. As a result, among people who have been diagnosed with diabetes and had attempted to lose weight, 78 percent were either unsuccessful or only somewhat successful.

“This report tells us that the vast majority of people with diabetes understand that their weight can be a health concern. They are on board with their doctors’ advice to exercise more, improve their diet and strive towards achieving a healthy weight. What is distressing is that so many fail to reach their goals,” says Hart. “Diabetes is a condition where what happens between doctor visits is just as important as the time spent face-to-face with patients. This is not a question of education as much as it is motivation and deploying user-friendly technologies to help patients stay on course with planned lifestyle changes.”

Motivation for long-term change

Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation also provides useful evidence on preferred motivational techniques and the methods that are most likely to deliver results.

Hart says, “Discussing Diabetes provides evidence about which of the all-important motivational techniques have delivered results and which are likely to work in the future. It makes clear that there is room for a conversation between doctors and patients and then using that dialogue as the basis for individual plans. Again, it revolves around communication that touches the hearts and minds of patients and ensures they remain engaged between healthcare appointments.”

The majority of people said they would be more likely to be encouraged by a positive goal, such as a better appearance, than by a negative threat. Sixty-three percent of diabetic patients said they were more motivated to lose weight by pleasurable outcomes: having more energy, feeling healthier overall and living longer were all cited as positive motivational goals. However, a slightly higher number of the general population (73 percent) said the same: suggesting that a carrot is even more effective than a stick when it comes to preventing diabetes in the first place.

In addition, 73 percent of diabetic patients felt they would be more successful in achieving their weight loss goals by engaging in small behavioral changes such as replacing sugar with a diet sweetener or eating slower. Sixty-seven percent also said they would like to have advice about weight loss but would prefer to figure out what works best for them as an individual rather than trying to follow very prescriptive plans.

Increased role for communication technologies

There is plenty of evidence to show that 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.

Discussing Diabetes showed that patients are largely positive to the idea of receiving these kinds of communications from their doctors between visits. Thirty-eight percent of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes said they would be interested in receiving tips from their doctor to help manage their own weight; 33 percent said they would be receptive and 34 percent said it would motivate them to make changes.

Interestingly, with personal experience of difficulties when it comes to managing their own weight, diabetic patients are also more likely than the general population to feel positively about receiving similar communications from doctors regarding their child’s weight. Forty-three percent said they would be happy to get health tips for their children between visits.

Hart says, “With greater focus on preventive care, not to mention the rising costs of healthcare in the US, it is clear to many in the medical profession that prescribing a treatment plan and leaving patients to go it alone in terms of changing their lifestyle will not produce the results that individuals and the country need. To really help those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes, and to prevent others from developing the disease, healthcare professionals need to activate all their patients to make positive changes for a healthier life.”

She adds, “Discussing Diabetes gives us plenty of evidence to suggest that patients want to be involved in their own care, but feel they lack the tools to stay educated, encouraged and motivated. Text messages, phone calls and emails from physicians get patients’ attention while providing the support and involvement that will help treat — and in many cases prevent — diabetes and related conditions.”

Media Resources

  • Download the full report, “Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation,” for a deeper look at the findings:
  • Download Infographic, “The Diabetes Disconnect: Are Doctors and Patients on the Same Page?,” comparing the differing views between doctors and diabetic patients:
  • Download Infographic, “Weight: The Diabetes Risk Factor Americans Can Control,” which reveals eight out of 10 people diagnosed with diabetes have been told to lose weight by their doctor:
  • Download Infographic, “Diabetics: Serial Dieters Struggling to Shed Pounds,” revealing people diagnosed with diabetes make numerous attempts to lose weight without success. It also identifies the common reasons diets aren’t working for diabetics:
  • Download Infographic, “Awareness About Weight and its Consequences for Health is Widespread,” which looks at attitudes toward the need for weight management — comparing those with diabetes and the general population:
  • Download Infographic, “Diabetic Patients and Doctors View Weight Loss Differently,” looking at how making small adjustments to lose weight and positive encouragement are important factors for success:
  • Download Infographic, “Diabetes: The Role of Doctor-Patient Communications,” which reveals 25 percent of patients with diabetes would be motivated to lose weight if their doctor tells them they need to shed pounds:
  • Download Infographic, “The Scale of the Diabetes Epidemic in the U.S.,” noting every 17 seconds someone in America is diagnosed with diabetes:
  • To arrange an interview with Allison Hart, Director of the Healthy World Initiative at TeleVox, to discuss these study findings in more detail, please contact Laura Le from Jones PR at, or by calling 408-439-2537.

About The TeleVox Study — Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation

Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation is based on a survey conducted by Kelton on behalf of TeleVox among 1,130 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over. The survey used an email invitation and an online survey, with quotas set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.

In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.9 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.

About TeleVox

TeleVox, an affiliate of West Corporation, is a high-tech Engagement Communications company, providing automated voice, email, text and web solutions that activate positive patient behaviors through the delivery of technology with a human touch.

Since 1992, TeleVox has been creating a comprehensive approach that breaks through and motivates people to live healthy lives. At TeleVox, we understand that touching the hearts and minds of patients by engaging with them between healthcare appointments will encourage and inspire them to follow and embrace treatment plans. We know personalized, ongoing patient engagement will activate positive lifestyle changes. TeleVox helps healthcare professionals touch, engage and activate every unique patient to lead healthy lives.


TeleVox. High-tech, human touch to create a healthy world — one patient at a time.

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