Diabetic Education Left Blowing in the Wind
The Economic Cost of Diabetes
Ever wished for an extra six hundred dollars? Well, that is about how much annual Diabetic costs would total if spread out over every man, woman, and child in the United States. At an estimated $174 billion in 2007, U.S. Diabetic expenditures can be considered a major problem that economically affects all of the population. Unfortunately, this problem is only getting worse as conservative trend analyses indicate that the total U.S. population diagnosed with Diabetes will rise from the 2007 level of 5.8% to 12% by 2050. As a result of this forecast, the question that necessarily follows is how to manage the coming tidal wave of health expenses associated with such a dramatic increase in patient population?
When searching for possible answers to this question, an evaluation of relevant studies reveals that there is potential for cost reduction through improvements in patient care. This idea is supported through the article, “Amputation Prevention Initiative in South India: Positive impact of foot care education” which details how intensive foot care education for people with Diabetes significantly decreases disease progression. In one study within this article, 82% of those who followed educational instruction had foot ulcerations heal compared to a healing rate of 50% in those that did not follow educational instruction. This means that educational interventions are not only proven to work when followed, but that the positive effect on patient health may further result in reduced health costs through the avoidance of surgery and associated medical procedures. In an effort to discover the applicability of these findings to the Diabetic patient population in America, we should attempt to identify as many Diabetic educational opportunities as possible.
Educational Opportunities are Available
Recognizing educational opportunities does not mean though, that any haphazardly constructed materials will be appropriate when attempting to educate those in need. Educational programs must avoid pitfalls while engaging the patient in what has been shown to be effective. For example, lectures that focus on didactic teaching methods have been proven least effective, in terms of glycemic control, when measured against other methods of educational intervention. This means that Diabetic patients do not learn best passively but in fact should be targeted with an active intervention that elicits participation in specially tailored materials and programs to highlight proper self-care. Further, communication strategies should be interactive between physicians and patients in order to assess patient understanding and gather important feedback. Without effective practitioner and patient interaction, it is difficult to ensure that Diabetic management techniques are being understood and will be followed. And finally, family involvement is strongly associated with positive clinical outcomes as detailed in the article, “Group Visits: Promoting Adherence to Diabetes Guidelines.” Installing protocols that adhere to this will promote better compliance with Diabetic management guidelines and should be also utilized when instituting an educational program to positively affect the Diabetic population at large. In all, the background literature that shows how the implementation of educational programs is better for overall Diabetic health supports the underlying fact that there is opportunity for Diabetic cost management.
The Future of Diabetic Cost Management
As the total cost of Diabetic care in the United States continues to increase, it is fast becoming an economic imperative that we search for ways to reduce expenditures associated with this pervasive disease. In an effort to identify an area where there is potential for managing costs while improving patient care, we should seek to describe the frequency of patient return visits as related to Diabetic education levels. If reduced levels of patient education are correlated with an increase in return visits, as many top authorities in the field would suggest, then an educational intervention is truly needed in order to address the needs of this population and reduce total Diabetic costs. It is expected then that Diabetic patients with less education are in need of special consideration that could prove golden when managing the total cost of Diabetic care in the United States. Lets all notice that change is coming and truly use all of our strength to do what is right.
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- National Diabetes Education Program - Information to Prevent Diabetes
NDEP is a partnership of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 200 public and private organizations.
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