Dr. Thomas Colletti
Diabetes is the most expensive and one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in the United States. Traditionally diabetes care has been provided by primary care practitioners or endocrinologists. Involving health professionals such as pharmacists, diabetes educators, and registered dietitians in the care for diabetic patients might help patients achieve better control of their diabetes.
The purpose of this publication is to review interventions led by pharmacists, dietitians, and diabetes educators to assess the impact of using a multidisciplinary team approach to caring for patients with diabetes mellitus.
Data Sources and Selection
Studies were reviewed from sources listed in the PubMed database and UpToDate related to the topics of diabetes education, nutrition therapy in diabetes, and pharmacists’ intervention in the management of diabetes. Inclusion criteria included studies published from 2014 to present.
Data supported the use of diabetes educators at the time of a diabetes diagnosis to minimize the psychological distress of the diagnosis. Frequent educational sessions for diabetes helped not only reduce complications related to diabetes but also lowered the overall cost of care for diabetic patients.
The studies that were reviewed to investigate the impact of a registered dietitian on diabetes outcomes showed that patients who received consultations from a dietitian as part of their care plan experienced improvements to their hemoglobin A1c values, weight loss, and overall improved blood glucose. When comparing the structure of meal planning, it was noted that patients who met with a dietitian to develop an individualized structured meal plan experienced greater outcomes when compared to those who only received generalized dietary guidance.
Pharmacist’s interventions were noted in the research to produce positive impacts on diabetes outcomes due to increased rates of medication adherence to evidence-based guidelines. Patients who were seen by a pharmacist experienced greater decreases in hemoglobin A1c and 10-year risks of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, lower hospitalization rates were noted in this population compared to those patients who were not seen by a pharmacist.
The findings support the use of diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and clinical pharmacists as a part of the diabetes care teams due to improvements in hemoglobin A1c, weight loss, and increased medication adherence amongst diabetes patients.
Poole AD. The Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Diabetes Management. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2022; 4(3).
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