Individuals can access just about anything online to help them manage their diabetes. So, why are diabetes educators needed?
Any website can provide patients information on diabetes, medical nutrition therapy, complications and how to treat or avoid them. The best part is that the information on the internet is free and more current than the knowledge sometimes possessed by diabetes educators. There is a plethora of reliable and credible sources for individuals to use. Some great patient resources are from AADE (such as the AADE7 Patient Handouts), the American Diabetes Association, or from pharmaceutical companies.
Many insurance companies now provide patients with diabetes a case manager who can guide them on how to care for diabetes. I have even read about virtual diabetes educators who can be accessed online or via phone to provide advice and guidance. Karen discussed the use of smartphones on her April 7th blog which are also being used by persons with diabetes.
Even with all the information and resources out there, I still think diabetes educators are crucial for long-term patient success with diabetes.
First of all, not everyone has access to the internet or can read. Additionally, individualized management by a person who knows the patient and their life experiences is an invaluable addition to the delivery of information during diabetes education sessions. The information and resources available online are a wealth of knowledge...but how many of us have read an article, blog, or news story about how to lose 10 pounds...and have immediately gotten up from the computer and started making healthier food choices and started getting active? I think I can safely say that making lifestyle changes and behavior modification is not as easy as it might seem.
Diabetes management is complicated--and a diabetes educator is critical for helping others navigate the maze. Because there is so much information, this can sometimes be overwhelming. So, yes, diabetes educators are really needed.
What are your thoughts? How can we convey this message when there is so much information patients can access from other sources?