Engagement & Information

A person’s condition cannot improve without active engagement in their own health. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that requires a long-term care process. Unfortunately, diabetes cannot be cured with a pill. Instead, it requires continuous effort on the part of the patient to adhere to their plan of care and make self-management decisions everyday. A diabetes diagnosis is a wake-up call that may be intimidating at first. Effective diabetes care supports the patient in adopting healthy habits and in addressing the volume of information and concerns involved with managing the disease and preventing complications. Non-physician support is critical in helping patients adhere to their care plan. Yet, how can a care team support a patient with a narrow, acute understanding of their health? The chronic nature of diabetes demands comprehensive information in order to understand the patient’s health and make proper decisions. Finding strategies to provide patients with timely encounters, and providers with timely information, reduces the risk of worsening health, and eases the natural stress associated with uncertainties. Technology-based approaches to healthcare delivery are exciting and impactful, as they enable non-clinical engagement and greater depth of information. The physician can determine the necessary level of intervention, direct the patient to visit the appropriate healthcare provider in their care team, and reduce time, costs, and resources associated with clinical visits.

Prevention Education

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by the body’s resistance to insulin and results in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). When the body is insulin resistant, cells do not respond correctly to the intake of carbohydrates that we eat each day, which are then converted into glucose sugar for energy, by our metabolism. Awareness and education are critical in addressing this preventable and manageable disorder. For many individuals at risk, lifestyle management support is necessary to prevent onset of diabetes and its complications. Nutrition and exercise habits directly affect the development of diabetes. The adoption of sedentary lifestyles and highly processed Western diets, saturated in sugar, have put many in serious risk for diabetes. Promotion of an active lifestyle and improved nutrition are important in improving health outcomes and quality of life. Ethnicity, the intersection of genetics and culture, also plays a significant role in determining diabetes risk. Genetic factors are a known contributor to the development of diabetes. The risk for diabetes in patients with identical lifestyles and BMI (Body Mass Index) will likely vary because of the genetic component of the disease. At the same time, culture is a key factor due to its impact on behavior and varying perceptions of healthcare. PSDCF is dedicated to supporting education to address predisposition to diabetes and improve prevention and management for populations at risk for developing the disease.

Preemptive Approach

Diabetes is a chronic non-communicable disease that develops over a long period of time. It is nearly impossible to identify the point of onset because of the long latent period during which symptoms are not easily identified. Unfortunately, healthcare providers typically consider success with an early diagnosis. This is not an effective way of achieving a positive health outcome. Instead, we must adopt a preemptive approach that seeks to assess diabetes risk in order to perform early intervention and interrupt the development of diabetes and its complications. A preemptive approach aims to personalize care for the patient, taking into consideration their genomic, cultural, and environmental profiles. Finally, a preemptive approach values prevention of diabetes and its complications as the optimal health outcome, and seeks to avoid the costly, invasive procedures that result from poor health management. No patient at risk for diabetes should be left without the care they need. Healthcare services in the past were heavily fragmented and counter-productive for a complex disease like diabetes that exhibits numerous functional symptoms. As a result, many patients with diabetes were left undiagnosed and victims of the complications caused by uncontrolled diabetes. With the power of patient data, healthcare providers can determine clear thresholds or trends for diabetes, and preemptively intervene before the development of debilitating complications. Immediate medical intervention becomes less vital, as education, prevention, and health assessments can reach a patient and their providers in a timelier and actionable fashion.