November is American Diabetes Month, which is an excellent time to educate patients about a disease that impacts tens of millions of people, including a large percentage of the population that may not realize they are at risk or already have the disease.
This past summer, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Diabetes Statistics Report, which found there are 30.3 million people with diabetes (9.4% of the U.S. population) including 23.1 million people who are diagnosed and 7.2 million people who have the disease, but don’t know it (23.8% of the US population). A staggering 84.1 million adults (33.9% of the adult U.S. population) have prediabetes, including 23.1 million adults aged 65 years or older (the age group with the highest diabetes rate).
When it comes to Type 2 diabetes or adult onset — the most common type of diabetes — prevention is a big deal. Here are some ways you can help educate your patients about diabetes and encourage them to take action if they are at risk.
- Encourage patients to find out if they are at risk. Many patients have no idea whether they are at risk of developing diabetes. Make it easy for them to find out by sending an online Health Risk Assessment patient survey. Determining a patient’s health status and identifying risk factors set the stage for better outcomes.
- Send out automated wellness appointment reminders. Research suggests that up to 50% of patients aren’t receiving recommended care for certain conditions. If it’s determined someone is at risk, encourage preventive care to help reduce complications.
- Show your support for Diabetes Awareness. Encourage individuals to donate $1-5 on November 14, World Diabetes Day or ask your staff to “Go Blue” to show your support for those impacted by the disease. Be sure to share your efforts on social media.
- Participate in a Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. Have your staff join a walk in your area. These events raise funds for research, advocacy, programs and education. You can also promote the walk to patients who might want to participate with you.
- Educate patients about diabetes basics including statistics, symptoms and the importance of early detection. You can do this through a number of multi-channel communications including handouts, posters, social media, website marketing and on-hold messaging.
Looking for other ideas? Check out Diabetes.org, where the American Diabetes Association has excellent resources to help educate and raise awareness.