5 Resources to Improve Diabetic Patient Education

patient education

With the dramatic improvements in preventative healthcare stemming from the tech boom of the 21st century, preventative screenings of various types have been made easier to schedule and perform, urging the healthcare industry to continue improving other aspects of preventative care in order to drive better patient outcomes.

One of these aspects of improving preventative care is patient education. As missed prevention opportunities cost the US an estimated $55 billion every year, educating patients on the various preventive measures they should be taking is of the utmost importance in order to lower national yearly healthcare costs. 

Patient education is a responsibility that falls squarely on the shoulders of healthcare practitioners and is particularly important to ensure the health of diabetic patients because of how crucial it is for them to know about the preventative screenings and extra health measures they must take.

 

Why is Patient Education Important?

Patient education is important no matter what a person’s healthcare journey looks like, but it is especially vital when a patient has a chronic condition such as diabetes. Because of the holistic effect diabetes has on patients, diabetics need to see a myriad of different healthcare providers to ensure that they remain in optimal health. However quite possibly the most important member of this team is not any medical professional; rather, it is the patient themself. 

For a diabetic patient to have the most effective care plan, they have to be a well-educated and proactive member of their own care team; being their own advocate for what their body needs to continue functioning as best as it can throughout the years. Equipping patients for success by giving them access to educational resources that empower them to be good members of their own healthcare teams is one of the best ways to ensure quality care is being administered.

Listed below are five free resources made available by organizations like the American Diabetes Association and the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists dedicated to improving the quality of the life for those living with diabetes.

 

#1: A Guide to Diabetic Retinopathy

This guide, released by the ADA, covers the basics of diabetic retinopathy and how important it is for patients to get diabetic retinopathy screenings in order to prevent blindness. This is because of the nature of diabetic retinopathy; in its initial stages, there are no symptoms, so most patients aren’t aware they have it. If caught early during these initial stages through preventative screening, patients have a much better chance of preventing the blindness eventually caused by unmitigated diabetic retinopathy. 

Particularly when it comes to preventative measures, it is of the utmost importance that patients have access to materials that educate them on the importance of getting preventative screenings performed. It is even better to pair those educational efforts with increasing access to these preventative screenings. IRIS technology makes it easy for healthcare practitioners to perform diabetic retinopathy screenings without disrupting their current workflows or putting a strain on employee bandwidth. Plus, we have plenty of patient materials for providers to utilize to ease the transition to performing these tests during a patient’s appointment.

 

#2: ADA Health Insurance Resources

As diabetes is a health condition that affects many parts of the body, being able to afford the medicine and treatments needed in an effective diabetes treatment plan is of the utmost importance. 

In this guide, the ADA has compiled the latest information on things such as financial assistance for prescriptions, Health Insurance Marketplaces, obtaining health insurance from an employer, Medicare, and state-specific healthcare options. They even have a glossary for health insurance terms to ensure that you can choose the best health insurance plan for you.

 

#3: ADCES Guide to Reducing Risks of Diabetes

There are many actions a patient can take to minimize or prevent the potential complications and negative outcomes that can come from diabetes. It is the responsibility of healthcare practitioners to make sure their patients are aware of these measures so they can mitigate risks such as diabetic retinopathy, dental issues, and more.

This page on the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ACDES) website includes guides about reducing the risks of diabetes as well as information on diabetes-related ketoacidosis, HHS, and sick day management.

 

#4: Diabetes Educational Resources (Spanish)

Studies show that minorities such as the US Hispanic population experience a higher rate of diabetes than other ethnic/racial groups in the US, with the reported rates of diabetes for Hispanic or Latino individuals around 10.5%, versus a rate of 6.8% for non-Hispanic white individuals.

It is imperative to meet patients where they are in their healthcare journey and having the ability to provide resources for patients from all backgrounds, including those who don’t primarily speak English, is key to driving better patient outcomes. Linked above are guides to healthy eating, being active, taking medications, and more, all in Spanish.

 

#5: Diabetes Emergency Preparedness

With the number of extreme weather cases in the world on the rise, it is important for your patients to have a plan in place to continue taking care of themselves even in extenuating circumstances.

This page includes three guides you can give to your patients to help them prepare in the case of a disaster. The first one is a guide on how to care for yourself or a loved one in the event of an emergency, the second is a checklist of items one would need to include in an emergency evacuation kit, and the third is important contact information and recovery advice from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

What are the Best Ways to Provide Patient Education Materials?

Primary physicians are a key component in ensuring patients have access to resources that stress the importance of preventative screening in order to protect their vision and all other aspects of their health. 

Having options for patients of primary physicians to access information on their health conditions either physically or digitally is a good way to ensure that patients of all ages and capabilities can access resources. Emailing links to patients through a patient portal can be an effective way to get resources to patients, as can having physical copies to give to patients at the end of their appointments.

 

What Can You Educate Your Diabetic Patient With to Help Prevent Complications?

All of the guides above are excellent resources to consider adding to your patient resources to enhance the information that helps patients be their own biggest advocate for their health. If you are looking for more resources for healthcare providers, check out our resource center. We have a plethora of materials for providers to leverage, including the below:

Want to connect with our team to learn more about how we can help provide your patients quality diabetic retinopathy screenings? Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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