Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH, and Laura Young, MD, PhD, received a grant from the National Institute of Health to increase uptake of diabetes self-management education. The study will focus on two factors: provider and diabetes care and education specialist engagement with patients, and patient peer support.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 37.3 million people live with diabetes. The challenges, costs, and complications of living with diabetes can be minimized with proper education. Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) is well known to help persons with diabetes learn to cope with the uncertainties of life with diabetes, yet unfortunately is underutilized in our current health care setting. To address this concern, UNC School of Medicine faculty Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH, and Laura Young, MD, PhD, received a grant from the National Institute of Health to increase uptake of diabetes self-management education.
The study will focus on two barriers to DSMES:
- Provider and diabetes care and education specialist engagement with patients
- Patient peer support
“Given the critical importance of self-management to diabetes success and the demonstrated value of DSMES class completion on diabetes outcomes, efforts to increase DSMES use have great potential to reduce the burden of this disease on individuals,” states Donahue, faculty in the Department of Family Medicine.
Young, faculty in the Department of Medicine, adds, “Making the referral process easy for providers by making it part of their workflow will help make sure patients who live with diabetes get standardized education, and peer support will inspire patients to actively participate.”
“To our knowledge, this will be the first effectiveness trial of Peer Support in relation to engaging and retaining patients in DSME. We are testing it within primary care clinics, the setting in which most persons with diabetes receive their care,” claims Donahue.
“I am excited to test out stakeholder informed, team-based population health approaches to further support people with diabetes,” states co-investigator Jacquie Halladay, MD, MPH. The study’s stakeholders are all a part of the North Carolina Network Consortium (NCNC), a diverse statewide consortium of providers, academic institutions, and patients that work to address pressing questions related to the delivery of primary care health services and the management of primary care problems. NCNC is funded by the NC TraCS Institute, whose team will manage data for the project.
With the data gathered from this study, researchers intend to build a larger multi-site study with hopes that engaging providers and educators directly, teamed with peer-support services, will provide a blueprint for diabetes treatment moving forward. As Donahue explains, “DSMES has the potential to improve diabetes outcomes significantly, but only to the degree that physician and patient barriers can be overcome.”