For the millions of people managing type 2 diabetes in the United States, the condition can be a challenge. Patients need to make significant lifestyle adjustments, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, regularly monitoring their blood sugar levels, and taking medications to control their blood glucose levels. Yet only a fraction of patients receive diabetes education, and even fewer report having access to emotional or social support.
The emotional toll of living with type 2 diabetes can be devastating. Patients may experience stress, anxiety, and depression and feel isolated and alone. These feelings can keep patients from successfully managing their condition and adhering to their medication routines, leading to a number of health complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and increases in unplanned health care utilization like emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Health plans can play a vital role in supporting patients with type 2 diabetes and, in turn, improve outcomes and reduce costs. Here are five ways health plans can help patients with diabetes:
1. Provide education. Health plans can inform patients about type 2 diabetes, including the symptoms, causes, treatments, and lifestyle changes that can help manage the condition. Health plans can provide this information through various channels, such as websites, brochures, and educational workshops.
2. Connect patients with resources to alleviate challenges related to SDOH. In diabetes, understanding and mitigating the impact of social determinants of health (SDOH), a lack of safe housing, transportation, education, access to nutritious food, and literacy skills can enable patients to better manage their condition. Health plans can understand and address challenges related to SDOH by providing opportunities for patients to share their challenges and connecting them with available resources.
3. Motivate patients with financial incentives. The cost of managing type 2 diabetes can be a significant financial burden for many patients. Health plans can offer financial incentives for key health milestones to help patients pay for medications, supplies, and other costs associated with the condition.
4. Empower patients. Patients with type 2 diabetes need to feel empowered to manage their condition. Health plans can empower patients by providing them with the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their care. Health plans can also create a supportive environment where patients feel comfortable asking questions and getting help.
5. Offer emotional support. Emotional support is just as important as medical care for patients with type 2 diabetes. Health plans need to recognize the importance of emotional support and provide it to patients in various ways, such as opportunities to regularly connect with motivational and supportive healthcare professionals.
By following these strategies, health plans can provide support to patients with type 2 diabetes and help them live healthier lives. But providing this level of care for large populations requires significant investments in resources and manpower that not every health plan can accommodate.
To help, we partner with health plans to deliver high-quality support at scale. Our holistic program enhances the gold standard of medication adherence, Directly Observed Therapy, by combining personalized video coaching, education, and motivational content. Our care team of experienced and compassionate pharmacists, nurses, and health coaches are dedicated to helping patients improve their health through a suite of engagement tools and validated interventions, including Comprehensive Medication Reviews, video Directly Observed Therapy, and financial incentives.
By providing education, linkages to health plan resources, motivation, empowerment, and emotional support through daily connections, our care team members often become trusted confidants to patients — learning about challenges they may not be comfortable discussing with providers and expertly helping patients overcome issues.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you support your patients with type 2 diabetes, please contact us today.