Diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the United States, or roughly 9% of the population. Of that number, 8.1 million are undiagnosed. Diabetes is a huge problem that places an enormous burden on patients, caregivers, and even our economy, and we must act now to reduce its devastating effects.
POLITICO and Novo Nordisk teamed up on World Diabetes Day to host an event about this issue and how we can reverse the trend. With a panel of experts from both the clinical and policy side, the conversation covered diabetes prevention topics like government incentives, the role of cities and urban planners, doctor-to-patient conversations, and how digital tools can help. While several key themes emerged during the panel, one resounding topic was the need to break down silos.
Our current model of diabetes prevention is not working, panelists argued, and we must better coordinate care between doctors, patients, family members, nutritionists, health systems, social workers, community groups, and policy makers. We are all working towards a common goal, and it will take all groups involved to address the diabetes dilemma. A single doctor-patient conversation around healthy eating and exercise may not be enough to create lasting behavior change, nor a single government subsidy for a prescription. A coordinated approach that combines elements like these, however, will create a path towards significant and lasting change.
Cost was another major topic of conversation, both on an individual and industry level. As medication prices rise, we must find ways to make them affordable and accessible to patients. Doctors should be open to talking about costs with patients, and ask whether or not they can afford a medication. The same goes for food security, and having conversations about access to healthy, affordable food options.
Technology can be a powerful way to manage patients with limited access to healthcare. Whether educating patients on diet and exercise, or monitoring glucose levels from afar, doctors can use new digital tools to help prevent and treat diabetes. We’re on the cusp of possibilities in this space, and excited to see how these tools can drive real change. By improving collaboration, having honest conversations and exploring new ways to provide care, we can start to make a dent in the diabetes dilemma and change the course of millions of lives. To learn more about ViiMed’s work in this space, please visit http://www.viimed.com/empower.