HealthDay News — Diabetes care can be improved with enhanced communication between providers and patients and improved communication between members of the primary care team, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Anthony Dowell, MBChB, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues tracked health interactions, including video recordings of interactions with healthcare providers (e.g., general practitioners, nurses, dietitians), for 32 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes as they moved through the New Zealand healthcare system over a period of approximately 6 months.

The researchers identified challenges to effective communication in diabetes care. For example, although clinicians had high levels of technical knowledge, initial consultations were often driven by biomedical explanations out of context from patient experience. While health professionals spent considerable time with patients, there was a perception of time pressure, which may be alleviated by not repeating information that may not be relevant to patient need. Health professionals seemingly had little knowledge of what other disciplines do and how their contributions to patient care differ.

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“Despite current high skill levels of primary care professionals, opportunities exist to increase the effectiveness of communication and consultation in diabetes care,” the authors write.

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Dowell A, Stubbe M, Macdonald L, et al. A longitudinal study of interactions between health professionals and people with newly diagnosed diabetes.  Ann Fam Med. 2018;16(1):37-44.