February 27, 2012

Tackling Diabetes Care Challenges

Another “Expert Group” for diabetes is not something that gives me a lot of hope. Again, they do not include any people from the patient side. Granted there are not a lot of experts these professionals would classify as patient experts.

The name of the program is called “Improving Quality in Type 2 Diabetes: A national Initiative to Assess Guideline Adherence and Physician/Pharmacist Coordination.” This is part of a U.S. multiphase initiative that is setting out to assess the effects of current in-practice behavior across multidisciplinary professions in caring for patients with type 2 diabetes. Sounds impressive, but will this really assist patients?

I always get a sickening feeling when I read things like this as I wonder what other limits are going to be imposed on those of us with type 2 diabetes. Is this another program to declare that type 2 patients on oral medications do not need to spend time testing? Or, will someone finally realize that the physicians are not doing their duty of educating patients on the value and meaning of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG).

This is always a possibility and should be high on the priorities for any expert group, but will it? “The aims of the program are:
  • To reveal practice-specific obstacles of appropriate glycemic control in primary care and endocrinology in multiple locations and practice environments across the U.S.
  • To assess current pharmacist practices in terms of medication education and patient monitoring of those with type 2 diabetes, and
  • To determine the critical factors of successful interdisciplinary diabetes care by considering the behaviors and attitudes of physicians, staff, pharmacists and patients.”

Notice that the only mention of patients is in the last point above. Everything else is dedicated to practice level discussion. How will they determine the behaviors and attitudes of patients? Will this be just another adhering or non-adhering discussion about the patients? Or, will they actually consider the feelings and problems patients encounter in lack of diabetes education, continuing support and updated education, and the benefits of continuing education to assist the patients?

As a patient, I can only suspect that it will be more of the same lack of concern for the welfare of the patient and no thought about the lack of education provided. This will leave patients out in the cold and the “medical professionals” patting themselves of the back for again claiming to have improved life for the patient.

Until the professionals change their thought process and include patients with type 2 diabetes in any discussion, nothing will change from a patient perspective. No education will be provided to the patient, SMBG will continue to be downgraded, and patients will continue to wonder where to get reliable information and help in their management of diabetes.

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