Currently, 463 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. By 2025, approximately 130 million Indians are likely to be diabetic. In India, around 50% of diabetics remain undiagnosed. Patients and families could play an important role in managing diabetes. In this context, the major role in the education of the patients and their families is played by the doctors and hence, it is important to know the challenges faced by them.
Understanding doctors’ opinion on patient and family education in diabetes management
A total of 277 doctors participated in the survey, including 44% general practitioners, 25% others, 26% diabetologists, and 5% dentists.
Around 44% of doctors responded that family members of the patients are aware of diabetes symptoms before the onset.
A majority of doctors, 59% feel that patients & family members should be advised for proper diabetes management on each visit to the clinic.
Around 47% of doctors prefer to individually educate patients or family members for diabetes instead of group sessions.
Around 44% of doctors prefer printed patient education materials.A majority of doctors, 74% responded that diabetic patients commonly have questions/doubts regarding diet and exercise-related control of diabetes.
A majority of doctors, 90% responded that they observe better glycemic control in patients whose family members have adequate knowledge of diabetes.
A majority of doctors 85% always recommend family members of diabetic patients to get screened for diabetes.
Around 31% of doctors responded that very often the patients or family members take the counselling session seriously.
A majority of doctors, 88% responded that the myths and misconceptions of diabetes pose a challenge to its effective management.
Around 35% of the doctors have responded that patients/family members have a hard time understanding the information provided to them.
Our survey revealed that most of the doctors observed better glycemic control if the patients or their families possess adequate knowledge of how to manage diabetes. Previously published scientific studies prove that more knowledge about the disorder can lead to improved treatment compliance. This could also bring down complications such as kidney diseases, CVS disorders, etc. Around 88% of the doctors surveyed have stated that misconceptions and myths of diabetes are the formidable hurdles in its effective management. False assumptions and overall ignorance by the patients about the ailment are one of the major reasons for poor management. To reach the patient on a personal level, the majority of doctors expressed that the patient educational resources should be made available in print format. In this context, Pharma companies could offer value-added services to their customers and assist the doctors by providing relevant patient education materials and introducing initiatives to raise awareness of the disease. Such initiatives will drive up compliance with therapy and reduce the occurrence of complications. Imparting proper knowledge in a way that the patient and their families understand could help alleviate the enormous emotional toll that living with diabetes takes on them.