The Future Of Diabetes Care And Education

EDITOR’S NOTE

DIABETES EDUCATION FAST-FORWARD:

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

BY ELIZABETH NARDACCI, MS, FNP-BC, CDE

DIABETES EDUCATION FAST-FORWARD: WHAT WILL THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
What do you envision for the future of diabetes education? Please email us your predictions: IntheKnow@medtronic.com, Want even more In the Know? Be sure to check out our Diabetes Educator Page for each access to current and past articles, organized by topic.
When I sat down to write this Editor’s Note, I had just returned from the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA)’s 75th Scientific Sessions, which provided a glimpse into the future of diabetes management. I then started thinking about the topics that might be covered at our professional meetings 5, 10, or even 20 years from now. Pretty exciting to ponder.

In the coming years, patients will continue to benefit from ongoing clinical and technological advances. The recent launch of the MiniMed® Connect has already opened the door for real-time access to patients’ pump and sensor data with the push of a few buttons. Sometime in the not-so-distant future, a fully closed-loop system could become a reality. Imagine what else might be possible, both in terms of better patient care and greater efficiencies. With any luck, we will all be working smarter—not harder.

To keep pace with these changes, diabetes education and training will continue to evolve. Tomorrow’s education may be different, but the diabetes educator’s (DE’s) role will be more important than ever. Technology will be the key to making the journey of lifelong diabetes control an easier one—both for patients and for DEs.

Here are some of my predictions about the future of diabetes care and education:

  • Technology will drive improvements in care—but the human factor will be crucial for successful implementation. DEs will individualize care by identifying the right tools for the right patients. No matter how much diabetes care is automated, patients will still need DEs and providers to interpret data and guide them as they take on more self-management.
  • DEs will be more likely to practice at the top of their licensure with a team-based approach that focuses on disease management and accountability in a pay-for-performance environment. Success will be measured by metrics such as A1C, but also criteria such as patient satisfaction and efforts towards self-care.
  • Newer models of care such as the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) will become the norm. The physician-led medical home model seeks to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of care while also responding to each patient’s unique needs and preferences. Diabetes education and training are cornerstones of the PCMH model, which emphasizes continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s lifetime to maximize health outcomes.
  • Disease management tools such as health apps and activity trackers will be more engaging than ever, sparking patients to integrate them into their daily lives and routines. These tools will be easy to use with wide platforms. We may see a trend that results in the “game-ification” of disease management apps. DEs will teach patients how to leverage this emerging technology to its fullest potential.
  • DEs will provide education in novel ways and in nontraditional settings. More and more education and training will be delivered via telephone/visual remote (telemedicine), during shared medical visits, and in community or corporate settings. DEs will need to be open to any and all possibilities.

The future is now. It’s critical that we stay ahead of the curve when it comes to diabetes education so that our approach is anticipatory and not reactionary. Clinical innovation is changing the diabetes care paradigm for the better, and innovation in education is just as important. The goal of In the Know is to provide a forum to share best practices and to create a sense of community for educators so that we can move forward—together.

The future of diabetes care is bright, it’s high-tech, and its success will be fueled by progressive DEs like you.

SOURCES
75th Scientific Sessions. American Diabetes Association. Accessed July 20, 2015.
MiniMed® Connect. Medtronic Diabetes. Accessed July 20, 2015.
Kaufman FR. Focus on innovation: Working with you to close the loop in diabetes education. In the Know [Medtronic Diabetes and Bayer HealthCare]. Accessed July 20, 2015.

Elizabeth (Beth) Nardacci, MS, FNP-BC, CDE, guest editor of this issue of In the Know, is a family nurse practitioner at Capital Region Diabetes and Endocrine Care in Albany, New York. Her special interests include diabetes technologies, including professional and personal CGM and insulin pump therapy, chronic kidney disease, and renal transplantation. She is a principal investigator in the OpT2mise international pivotal trial for use of insulin pump therapy in type 2 diabetes. Beth serves as an advisor to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Task Force on Continuous Glucose Monitoring. She was a recipient of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Inspiration Award and has made numerous presentations and published clinical papers on diabetes technologies. Please send your feedback to IntheKnow@medtronic.com.