If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Healthcare Experience - Diabetic Blog Week Day 4

Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

There is so much to say about this topic that where to begin is almost overwhelming. I have experienced healthcare in three different countries and all are very different - including the opportunities for improvement. I do think that one of the biggest factors in helping patients overcome their frustration is if healthcare providers and insurance companies worked as teams - both within their separate entities and together.

Anytime I have dealt with a physician that was not part of a larger team of people with experience in diabetes (i.e. nutritionist, psychologist, nurse) much of the patients' needs are not addressed. Some doctors may know everything from a comprehensive perspective, but they do not have the time to be all things to all people. If they can be integrated with a team that can support them and the patient, it is a win for everyone.

The same can be said about insurance companies. If they cannot work as a team within their organization, the patient has a less than satisfactory outcome, and may miss out on care. If they can work on initiatives with the providers giving the care, then even better.

In 2014, I made a presentation to physicians about the patient experience in diabetic care. The premise of my discussion was how does one know that their diabetic patient is getting good care? Is it the A1C? That they are returning for regular check ups? What is the indicator?

I researched many academic articles in the quest for a holistic answer. As I kept reading, I decided to take all of those articles and create a word cloud out of them. In a word cloud, the words that are used most frequently in a document will be larger than the others. 

The results were not surprising. The subject words, Diabetes and Care, were the biggest. The next largest were the words "Integrated" followed by "people" and "services". 

If I could wish for one thing to improve diabetes care, it is that those three words were considered throughout the entire care process. Those words have so many different meanings and are intertwined in so many ways that many healthcare frustrations could be resolved.

There needs to be integration among services - true integration. Services working in silos is not enough.  This is not really better than having no services at all because without synergy, there could never be comprehensive integration. Patients could even get conflicting treatment information in this kind of environment.

There needs to be people with the skills to do it. Yes, finding healthcare resources is a challenge throughout the world, but still a need. 

The solution is not easy and will not happen overnight. For the short term, I think it is important for healthcare providers to remember what chronic means for the patient. The patient has to address diabetes several times in one day and in many ways - medically, psychologically, socially.

Focus on the bigger picture with us and not just one episode of A1C. As patients we want to leave your office feeling supported and optimistic about our future. 

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