Adding a Daily Dosage of Diabetes Wisdom to Your Prescription
- Claresa Levetan, MD
- Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Claresa Levetan, MD, 650 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Suite 50, Washington, DC 20003 or e-mail
In the words of Dr. Elliott Joslin, “The person with diabetes who knows the most lives the longest.” Despite the technological advances in medicine and health coupled with the successful efforts of the American Diabetes Association and numerous other organizations in raising public awareness of the HbA1c blood test, most people with diabetes still cannot name the test or state their current HbA1c level or target goals.
The amount of patient information needed to manage diabetes on a daily basis is often overwhelming. Providing daily diabetes management tips in a calendar format allows patients to digest self-management techniques one day at a time without causing information overload.
In conjunction with the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, the peer review organization that conducts quality improvement projects for Medicare and Medicaid in Maryland and the District of Columbia, I set forth to develop a unique information and education resource for Medicare recipients. We first distributed the daily, spiral-bound diabetes calendar logbook in 1997, after conducting focus groups and gathering feedback from Medicare recipients. From 1998–2001, 964 patients with diabetes received the calendars yearly. The initial survey conducted among calendar recipients after the first year of use revealed that 83% found the calendar helpful; 70% liked the reminders, advice, and encouragement; 83% learned about the importance of the HbA1c test; and 92% better understood the importance of a foot exam. Patients attributed the benefits of the calendar to its permanence, content, and inspirational messages.1
Our experience has shown that a daily calendar format that includes concise daily tips, information notes, and inspirational messages about diabetes may be more beneficial to patients than traditional educational materials designed for one-time use. This article presents some of the barriers to delivering optimal self-management training materials and reviews the ongoing process of developing this tool.
Claresa Levetan, MD, is director of diabetes education at MedStar Clinical Research Center in Washington, D.C.
- American Diabetes Association