Over the past several months, I have been surprised a couple of times about diabetes education.
In November 2014, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published data from the Marketscan Commercial Claims and Encounters database stating that “during 2011–2012, an estimated 6.8% of privately insured, newly diagnosed adults participated in DSMT during the first year after diagnosis of diabetes. These data suggest that there is a large gap between the recommended guidelines and current practice, and that there is both an opportunity and a need to enhance rates of DSMT participation among persons newly diagnosed with diabetes." How can this be? Less than 7%!
On June 5th, I attended the press conference at ADA’s Scientific Sessions for the release of “Diabetes Self-management Education and Support (DSME/S) in Type 2 Diabetes: A Joint Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.” The members of the presenting panel pointed out highlights of the statement. Then, the floor was opened for questions. I was shocked by questions posed by a member of the press, a healthcare provider. Essentially, she said: A person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, put on a couple of oral medications, what else do they need? It was an honest question. We, as diabetes educators, know the answer. Don’t assume others do. One of the members of the panel described the importance of diabetes self-management education and support (DSME/S) for a person with type 2 diabetes. The next question from this same individual was: What do you teach them? This opened my eyes. We work and live DSME/S but too many others don’t know what we do and how valuable it is that we are here to do it!
How incredibly important this position statement is. Potential referring providers need to know what we do and when a person can most benefit from DSME/S.
The position statement:
- Provides key definitions for DSME/S;
- Describes the benefits of DSME/S;
- Reviews reimbursement, national standards and referral for DSME/S;
- Provides an algorithm of care for a person with type 2 diabetes including four critical times to provide DSME/S and content for DSME/S at each of the critical times;
- Includes a table of “Guiding Principles and Key Elements of Initial and Ongoing DSME/S”; and
- Concludes with a section on overcoming barriers that limit access and receipt of DSME/S.
I am grateful to the team that worked on this amazing document. What a huge undertaking!
Now, it is our turn to disseminate the information. Spread the word to referring providers to help increase their knowledge of DSME/S and, subsequently, referral of those with diabetes to your program. Present the information in meetings and journal clubs. Print and post it. Email it. Write a blog. Tweet it. Talk to people with diabetes about it. How else can we spread this information? This is our future!