Is Your Diabetes Management Program Missing the Mark?

Health Dialog


Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The CDC has found that 30.3 million U.S. adults have diabetes and an additional 84.1 million have prediabetes. Unfortunately, in many cases prediabetes is not being diagnosed and addressed until it is too late. Patients are facing an uphill battle with behavior change, unique barriers to progress, and inadequate disease education. With an earlier diagnosis, better patient engagement, and self-management tools, however, we know people have the potential to delay or even prevent the disease progression.

Today, innovations in analytics, technology, and behavioral science enable us to design programs with a proven track record of preventing type 2 diabetes, delaying the progression of both type 1 and type 2, reducing costs, and managing the unique needs of patients along every stage of their disease trajectory. With National Diabetes Awareness Month right around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at the key elements of a successful diabetes management program -  one that addresses the healthcare needs of patients in the entire disease population, not just a select group of high-risk or high-cost patients.

Use Analytics to Identify Patients Who Would Benefit Most from a Diabetes Management Program

While it’s no secret that advancements in technology have created additional valuable sources of personal and health data, deriving actionable insights from this “big data" is often a huge hurdle.

But, there’s good news: With the right tools and skills in place, organizations can use big data to fuel their predictive models and leverage these data nuggets to identify individuals with risk factors for diabetes or further disease progression and engage them in a meaningful way.

Rich data sets that include family history, demographic, regional, socio-economic, clinical, and application/tracker data, enable data scientists and statisticians to fill data gaps and detect patterns within the populations and build key predictive factors. This insight can then be applied to similar populations, which helps to determine who is likely to be at risk. With this data-driven approach, population health managers can be “smarter” about how they identify at-risk members, engage with them to bring about more effective behavior change and better health outcomes.

Improve Patient Engagement with Personalized Coaching Strategies
While pre-diabetes and diabetes are common diseases among U.S. adults, the person behind each case is not the same. Participants in diabetes management programs need to be reached with content that fits their specific clinical needs, personal preferences, motivational triggers, and behavioral patterns.

Since lifestyle is a huge factor in the disease’s progression and severity, it is important that health coaches or personalized digital tools provide the education and support necessary to make lifestyle changes, set meaningful goals for prevention (weight loss, diet, exercise), encourage necessary tests and screenings, and address unique barriers they may be facing (fear, lack of confidence, language, time management).

Getting people to make large-scale life changes is a daunting task. Focus on encouraging individuals to make small, attainable health goals that lead towards a change over a period of time. We have found success focusing on each patient’s readiness to change.  

Analyze and Measure Your Diabetes Management Program Results
Finally, population health managers need to be able to monitor and report on the program outcomes and success criteria. With an emphasis on providing the right education and tailored intervention at the right time, your program should effectively drive patient engagement and significantly delay progression to advanced disease stages and even prevent type 2 diabetes for people that are at high-risk for or have prediabetes.

As with any clinical program, generating measurable results is key. Organizations leveraging Health Dialog’s diabetes management solutions have saved an average of $1,000 per member, per year. Furthermore, 84 percent of engaged members said their understanding of their treatment improved and 94 percent established one or more risk reduction goal, such as exercise or diet changes. 

With the right tools and strategy in place, organizations today are poised to drive better identification and engagement that will not only improve the health of their population at risk or with diabetes but also reduce costs.

Did you miss our webinar, “Diabetes Prevention & Management-Design Programs that Work”? View the recording here:

This post, originally published in 2017, has been updated.

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