Strengths and challenges in interactions with newly diagnosed diabetes patients

January 9, 2018, American Academy of Family Physicians

When patients are diagnosed with diabetes, primary care clinicians display high levels of technical knowledge and communication skill, but initial consultations are often driven by biomedical explanations out of context from patient experience.

A qualitative study of 32 patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes found strengths in interactions including high levels of communication skills, coordination of services, and significant allocation of time with patients.

Challenges to optimal care remain, however.

Despite high levels of generic communication expertise by clinicians, many patients found the style and content of health promotion and lifestyle advice not applicable to their lives.

Similarly, although sufficient time was allocated, it was not well coordinated between health professionals.

Other concerns included overuse of a checklist approach and a need for more effective methods of sharing patient information.

The findings highlight the important role that communication plays in and the commitment of primary care teams to engage with patient care.

The authors recommend that clinicians employ a biopsychosocial framework for communications with newly diagnosed diabetes patients and coordinate allocation of time when patients see multiple clinicians.

Explore further: Improving care transitions for patients

More information: Anthony Dowell et al. A Longitudinal Study of Interactions Between Health Professionals and People With Newly Diagnosed Diabetes, The Annals of Family Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1370/afm.2144

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