A Closer Look At New Developments In Diabetes

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David A. Farnen, BS, and Stephanie C. Wu, DPM, MSc

Encouraging Patient Adherence: What Recent Studies Reveal

Patient adherence is one of the many challenges in the treatment and management of diabetes. For years, physicians have been researching new methods in tracking patient adherence to glucose monitoring and management, and to pressure mitigation devices.

   In an article published in the Annals of Family Medicine, researchers looked at the participation levels of patients with type 2 diabetes in their primary care check-up visits.13 Several offices sent questionnaires to these patients regarding their treatment goals and plans at the initial visit as well as follow-up visits. Researchers found that the more patients participated in their treatment decisions and management, the better they adhered to the prescribed medications and treatment. This resulted in better control of their diabetes.

   Another study compared the efficacy of a reciprocal peer support program with that of nurse care management in 244 men with diabetes in two Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.14 Researchers matched patients in the reciprocal peer support group with another age-matched peer patient and were encouraged to talk via telephone and participate in optional group sessions. Patients in the nurse care management group attended a 1.5-hour educational session and were assigned to a nurse care manager.

   After six months, the mean hemoglobin A1C level for patients in the peer support program decreased from 8.02% to 7.73% while it increased from 7.93% to 8.22% in the nurse care management group.14 This was statistically significant.

   Both studies support the notion that some patient empowerment in their treatment decisions and management may translate into better long-term outcomes.

In Conclusion

Diabetes is estimated to impose more than $174 billion dollars per year on United States healthcare. This astounding financial toll is expected to continue to rise as more and more people are diagnosed with this debilitating disease.2 In addition to being aware of the plethora of current research, patient education and preventative care are important strategies to emphasize. It is through innovative research, teamwork and preventative strategies that we continue to gain successful outcomes and improvement in the prevention and management of diabetes and its complications.

   Mr. Farnen is a third-year podiatric medical student at the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.

   Dr. Wu is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the School of Graduate Medical Sciences at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago. She is also the Director for Educational Affairs and Outreach at the Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research (CLEAR) in Chicago.

   Dr. Steinberg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. He is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.


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