July 21, 2011

Education Yields Improved Blood Glucose Control

A lot of the reading about diabetes lately has been about education. Too often the improvements made during the study disappear when the study is completed and support ends. This study states that even three months after, the improvements remained. While the study was indeed small and too short, this means that there could be hope.

It can be hoped that John Hopkins researchers will make the program available for others to use and on a wider basis. Will this happen – highly doubtful. Most researchers are very protective of the programs they use and wide dissemination seldom sees the light of day.

Yes, the findings were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the article says this will offer clinicians a proven tool to help those with unmanaged diabetes. But what I dispute is that this may be available for those in the know, but it is not being widely publicized so that wide distribution can take place. Often clinicians are so overworked that they do not have time to evaluate new tools like this to even consider putting something like this into practice.

Until the medical community starts sharing this with advocacy groups and giving it wider publicity, it will be another tool that languishes in a file of disuse. This is a shame for the researchers and for the broader medical community. For example, I found this back in April when it was published and because I was not ready to write about it, it sat in my files until today. In that time, I have seen no more publicity or even mention about this study, so it is already three months with no further action to take advantage of this important proven tool.

Even this could use widespread news coverage, but apparently it isn't sexy enough to make it newsworthy. Also many of the doctors (clinicians) will not make use of this as they frown on patients who are knowledgeable and proactive in their care. So you know this group in the medical community will ignore this. It is also a known fact that most medical insurance companies will hesitate to reimburse for this. They need to be convinced that it will save dollars in the long-term.

The researchers have found a way to give patients the skills needed to solve problems in their lives so that they can take diabetes out of the closet and start caring for their own health. The success of this small study comes because the group that received an intensive nine-session, problem solving course that not only covered standard diabetes self management and care, but were taught problem-solving as a skill to help manage the financial, social, resource, and interpersonal issues that can often stand in the way of managing their diabetes.

Read about the study and its results here. Please pass this on to others that might benefit in reading about this. Lets not let this die in the files of John Hopkins medicine.

No comments: