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High Quality Type 2 Diabetes Care Requires Care Coordination

Care coordination for patients with type 2 diabetes leads to higher quality care, but many providers report they lack resources for collaboration.

The vast majority of healthcare professionals agree that care coordination and provider collaboration results in higher quality care for patients with type 2 diabetes, but many providers face time as a barrier to collaboration, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company.

Approximately 90 percent of healthcare specialists agree that people with type 2 diabetes whose clinicians collaborate tend to have better outcomes than those whose providers do not collaborate.

The survey of 1,000 healthcare professionals comes as part of Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company’s Unleashing the Truth About Diabetes and Heart Disease campaign which promotes multidisciplinary care.

"Diabetes is a complex condition, and each specialty should be prioritizing their patients' overall health and developing treatment plans in collaboration with other specialists without worrying of overstepping," Javed Butler, MD, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Mississippi, said in a press release.

"When our specialties collaborate, we give our patients the best chance of success – which is highlighted in our professional society guidelines, including those from the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology,” Butler continued.

However, time is a barrier to care coordination across healthcare specialists, with more than 80 percent of endocrinologists, cardiologists, and nephrologists wishing they had more time in their schedules to track patients when they visit multiple care providers.

When it comes to treating patients with type 2 diabetes, most healthcare professionals (80 percent of nurse practitioners, 79 percent of nephrologists, 73 percent of endocrinologists, 69 percent of primary care physicians, and 63 percent of cardiologists) reported that if they had the resources, they would call another specialist to help treat these patients.

The greatest benefit of collaborative care for people with type 2 diabetes is higher quality of care, according to most healthcare providers (90 percent of nurse practitioners, 80 percent of primary care physicians, 78 percent of cardiologists, 77 percent of nephrologists, and 74 percent of endocrinologists).

However, three in five specialists (76 percent of endocrinologists, 67 percent of cardiologists and 60 percent of nephrologists) reported that they often do not receive health information on a referred patient’s condition prior to the visit.

Most survey respondents noted that information-sharing through EHR interoperability would help foster provider collaboration. Easy access to resources outlining professional guidelines for collaboration may be helpful, too.

"This survey reinforces the need to promote multidisciplinary collaboration to improve patient outcomes so that it becomes endemic in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and its associated cardio-renal-metabolic conditions," explained Sandy Sommer, senior vice president of Boehringer Ingelheim’s cardio-metabolic franchise. "Type 2 diabetes increases the risk for interconnected disorders that affect the heart, kidneys and endocrine system, which account for up to 20 million deaths worldwide."

The great majority of healthcare professionals (90 percent of nurse practitioners, 86 percent of primary care physicians, 86 percent of cardiologists, 86 percent of nephrologists and 85 percent of endocrinologists) agreed that all specialists involved in the treatment of type 2 diabetes share an equal responsibility to prescribe the best treatments available for the patient, regardless of specialty area.

However, healthcare professional confidence in prescribing diabetes medications like SGLT2 inhibitor or GLP-1 receptor agonist varies by specialty and therapy class. While over 90 percent of endocrinologists and PCPs are confident in prescribing SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists, around 20 to 40 percent of nephrologists and cardiologists reported that they are hesitant to prescribe this class of medicine as it is outside their primary area of expertise.

"The results of this survey show there is an opportunity to improve the way healthcare professionals collaborate, and we hope education about the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration will encourage healthcare professionals to take action,” explained Matt Caffrey, senior director of US Diabetes/CV marketing for Lilly Diabetes.

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