Role of Physicians: Partners in Providing Care
Your plan includes 2 key participant groups—patients and physicians. The latter can be valuable resources as you seek to improve your organization’s bottom line with regard to diabetes care. Encourage physicians to discuss diabetes with diagnosed and high-risk patients at every appointment (regardless of whether the focus is on diabetes). You may not be in the examining room with patients—but your physicians are.
Opportunities abound—an appointment for a sprained ankle can lead to a discussion about the importance of foot care in diabetes; an appointment for a lingering cold can encourage physicians to talk to patients about quitting smoking and reducing other risk factors; a standard preappointment weigh-in can provide the ideal introduction to a conversation about maintaining a healthy body mass index.
Health care providers (HCPs) play a key role in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. Research shows that physicians are among the most important health messengers and that patients are more likely to adopt new behaviors when instructed to by their HCPs.
Use the opportunity to address comorbidities
It’s a sad reality that many conditions—high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, renal disease, and more—can accompany (or even presage) diabetes. In fact, a recent report from the American Diabetes Association cites the statistic that 60% of adults who have diabetes also have elevated blood pressure—and almost all of them have high cholesterol.
This fact can help your plan’s physicians diagnose diabetes earlier—and keep the condition top-of-mind in high-risk individuals. When physicians check patients’ blood pressure or order standard tests to check for dyslipidemia, instruct them to order simple glucose tests as well. Earlier initiation of education and treatment may translate into significant cost savings for your plan.
Guide your approved practitioners to helpful resources
Many tools exist to enable you to help your physicians manage patients’ diabetes and related conditions, from medical journals to disease-related organizations. Health plans can also extend educational opportunities to their practitioners by sponsoring workshops and seminars that feature presentations by key opinion leaders in type 2 diabetes treatment. Another resource is the Journey for Control program, where doctors can find useful information, interactive tools, and more as they seek to improve their patients’ conditions—and your plan’s overall performance.