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Diabetes treatment 'inextricably' linked to patient education

Condition remains a significant burden for health systems
Digital doctor

The successful treatment of type 2 diabetes is inextricably linked to how well patients understand their own role in managing the disease, according to a new report.

The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics looked at the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, and found that between 4% and 15% of diabetes-related costs in those countries are linked to patients simply not adhering to therapies or not persisting with them.

“Simple, customised interventions that put patients on the path to optimal adherence and persistence can yield tangible results, but require alignment between healthcare and government leaders, as well as the active involvement of voluntary associations and the private sector,” IMS said.

Its suggested solutions include identifying and profiling patients who need assistance and improving access to education materials which are tailored to their needs.

The report also calls for engagement between healthcare providers and patients to be maximised, and digital technology is also recommended as a means of maintaining effective self-management.

The disease is associated with a number of health problems such as those related to eyes or feet, and the reports also found that these disease complications account for an estimated 61% to 80% of costs related to diabetes in the healthcare systems which were studied.

As generally improved healthcare allows people to live longer, and as working lives tend towards sedentary occupations - as opposed to those involving physical activity - in many countries, type 2 diabetes has become a major problem for health and social care in many countries.

The issue is not so much in diagnosis and treatment options, both of which have improved, says IMS. Diet, exercise and the use of glucose-lowering medicines will also be important factors in improved healthcare outcomes.

“Effective patient activation - how well people understand their role in the care process along with their ability and willingness to actively manage their own health and care - is key to deriving greater value from existing diabetes treatments,” IMS said.

The IMS findings broadly dovetail with separate research carried out last year by The Research Partnership, which asked diabetes patients to think about their disease and what they need to help them improve their health.

The online market research study of 2,500 patients across Europe identified three key areas where patients need greater support: diagnosis, compliance with treatment, and long-term lifestyle management.

Article by
Adam Hill

13th July 2016

From: Healthcare

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