Group Training For Diabetes Patients





“So many patients to train, so little time.”

Have you ever felt that you have more pump and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) trainings than time in your day? If so, group classes could be the solution.

Do you have education and training pearls of your own to share, or is there an aspect of sensor-augmented pump therapy that you would like to know more about? Send us an email with the details:
A group approach can offer a number of benefits, including:

  • “Economies of scale,” with the ability to go deeper in each session due to training multiple patients at once
  • Patients can learn from each others’ experiences and offer peer support
  • More and more insurers are reimbursing for group training, provided you use the appropriate billing codes
  • An opportunity to deliver less resource-intensive education that simultaneously improves outcomes. A recent study [Hwee et al] found that patients who participated in group diabetes self- management education (DSME) experienced fewer acute complications (i.e., hyper/hypoglycemia requiring emergency department visits or hospitalizations) and some improvements in processes of care.

If you’re thinking of starting group classes for insulin pump therapy (IPT) or are looking for ways to enhance a program you already offer, the following case study provides some actionable advice and ideas.


Just over a year ago, a Medtronic Diabetes Clinical Manager (DCM) working with a large endocrinology practice needed to schedule nearly 70 patients for sensor-augmented pump (SAP) therapy training sessions. She needed to ensure that the trainings were timely, thorough, and compatible with the patients’ needs while fitting into an already-busy clinical schedule.

Group training turned out to be the perfect solution. With some creative thinking and utilization of existing support staff and resources, the DCM developed an efficient and effective group-based program. The classes—which are focused on product features and technical in nature—offer the benefits and energy of a group dynamic. Follow-up care is personalized to meet each patient’s therapeutic and lifestyle needs.


The format for the pump start training, which has evolved over time, includes a minimum patient time commitment of 5 hours, split into 2 sessions of 2½ hours each. The time between classes is typically 3 to 6 days. Patients (and their caregiver/significant other if desired) learn to use the pump and CGM, with a focus on therapy management to evaluate the effects of insulin, food, and activity on glucose response.

These “Combo Classes” include:

Do you have education and training pearls of your own to share, or is there an aspect of sensor-augmented pump therapy that you would like to know more about? Send us an email with the details:

Class 1: IPT fundamentals, CGM basics, downloading to CareLink® Personal. Everyone in the group uses the same pump settings with saline and no CGM alarms. Patients are given a handout with their homework for the week, which includes instructions on calibration, infusion set changes, and using the Bolus Wizard®.

Class 2: CGM optimization and pump safety. Patients learn how to transition to insulin—with individualized settings—and how to review CareLink reports.

“Advanced Pumping Class” group trainings, which focus on topics such as advanced CGM use, also are offered. Patients are encouraged to prepare by completing the MiniMed 530G® with Enlite® myLearning online tutorials, which enhances the flow and organization of the classes.


The response from both patients and providers has been overwhelmingly positive. Patients surveyed after the first set of classes said they preferred the group setting to one-on-one training because the classes were more comprehensive, and they benefited from the peer support.

Providers have reported that as a result of the training, patients:

  • Are more comfortable and engaged
  • Have a greater understanding and utilization of SAP system features
  • More fully embrace a therapy management approach in which they take responsibility for their self-management.

In addition, group education frees up office time so you can fit more patients into your schedule.

How’s that for a practice efficiency-patient satisfaction-better outcomes win-win-win?

Hwee J, Cauch-Dudek K, Victor JC, Ng R, Shah BR. Diabetes education through group classes leads to better care and outcomes than individual counselling in adults: A population-based cohort study. Can J Public Health. 2014;105(3):192-197. Available at: Accessed June 15, 2015. Education: MyLearning. Medtronic Diabetes. Accessed June 2, 2015.
Education: MyLearning. Medtronic Diabetes. Accessed June 2, 2015.

Terri Yeager, MSN, CRNP, CDE, BC-ADM, is a district clinical supervisor with Medtronic working in the Western Pennsylvania and Western New York areas. She has worked for many years in pediatric and adult diabetes and has served as a clinical coordinator for various diabetes and endocrine research studies. During her tenure as a diabetes educator, she has published and presented at local education programs as well as at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Annual Meeting. Terri is proud to be a nearly 15-year employee of Medtronic Diabetes, where she was one of the initial field clinical staff and has had the opportunity to work with many healthcare providers and individuals who have diabetes.