Engaging Patients in Care Improves Blood Sugar Control in Patients with Diabetes

By | June 16, 2014

Center member Shari Bolen, MD, MPH and colleagues recently performed a systematic review of over 100 studies of Òpatient activationÓ strategies for adults with diabetes, and found that these programs improve blood sugar control almost as much as taking a diabetes medication. The study team also found improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. Interventions often were relatively simple – such as diabetes group visits, use of pedometers and activity journals, or use of a portion-controlled plate at meal time in conjunction with nutrition visits. Programs that lasted longer, incorporated clinical pharmacists, and enrolled patients with higher blood sugars had greater improvements. While many patient activation programs exist to help adults with diabetes improve their health, about 50% of insurers do not yet support these programs. Study findings provide evidence for insurers who do not yet cover these programs. This study should revolutionize care by encouraging primary care providers and their staff to offer these programs consistently to engage patients in improving their health. Also participating in the current study were MetroHealth researchers Dr. Corinna Falck-Ytter; Adam Perzynski and Steven Lewis of the Center for Health Care Research and Policy; Cleveland Clinic family medicine physician Carl Tyler, and two Clinic Lerner College of Medicine students. The article was published recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and was highlighted in the May 15 issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.May 15 issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Journal of General Internal Medicine,Adam Perzynski