Communication key to increasing enrollment in diabetes management programs and improving outcomes, Geisinger researchers find
DANVILLE, Pa. – Communicating personal risk for developing type 2 diabetes and then offering a choice of risk reduction and management programs resulted in higher than expected enrollment and improved outcomes, a team of Geisinger researchers found.
A relatively low number of people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes are aware of their personal risk and of what steps they can take to reduce or manage their risk. These risk factors include overweight or obesity, age, an unhealthy diet or exercise routine, and family history.
In their study, the research team sent letters to 328 patients at three Geisinger primary care sites communicating their personal risk of progression to diabetes within three years. The letters also included the patient’s estimated risk reduction with a 5, 10 or 15 percent weight loss, and offered a choice of five free, 6-month risk management programs.
The recruitment response rate for the risk management programs was just over 25 percent, which was significantly greater than expected, the research team found. After six months, body mass index (BMI), hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), and diabetes risk had improved in all patients, and both BMI and HbA1C had sustained improvement after 12 months.
The findings were published in the October 12 issue of Patient Education and Counseling.
“Many people with risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes are unaware of their risk and of the steps they can take to reduce their risk,” said Lisa Bailey-Davis, Ph.D., associate professor for Geisinger’s Obesity Institute and the study’s lead author. “We were pleased to discover that clear and direct communication of personal risk and offering a choice of risk management programs led to significant engagement and better health outcomes.”
Geisinger offers a Diabetes Risk Calculator through the MyGeisinger patient portal, allowing patients to learn about their personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Geisinger primary care providers can see their patients’ personal risk scores and can refer interested patients to risk management programs like the Geisinger Wellness Diabetes Prevention Program, a registered dietitian, or a weight management specialist.
For more information about diabetes and resources available at Geisinger, visit geisinger.org/patient-care/conditions-treatments-specialty/diabetes.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1.5 million consumers it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 13 hospital campuses, a 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With 32,000 employees and 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Participants responded to personalized risk assessment and program choice