How to Improve Care for Diabetic Patients

Catering towards the disparate needs of all your patients can be difficult, especially when you have limited resources and space. Caring for patients with chronic diseases doesn't just involve obtaining the best medical devices and care skills, it also means using software or patient portal tools that make your practice accessible and efficient.

Over 30 million adults and counting have been diagnosed with diabetes in the US. Cases of Type 2 diabetes are particularly rapidly growing. According to this article from Review of Optometry, one in three diabetic patients show signs of diabetic retinopathy and that number is increasing. You've got the patient care part covered, so we want to discuss how you can set up your practice to make everything flow smoothly.

ODs Caring for Chronic Disease Patients: Diabetics

29-03Make Options Clear

Firstly, provide all your patients education around the preventative measures patients can take to prevent type 2 diabetes from growing worse. This can also help patients understand the difference between Type 1 (hereditary) and Type 2 diabetes. If you have a patient showing early signs of diabetes, show them how diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, and glaucoma can progress in stages over time, with and without intervention. This can be made easier if you utilize tablets in your practice where your patients can zoom in on imagery. Emphasize the importance of regular check-ins with all healthcare professionals including yourself so that you can check their eye health and retina's blood vessels.

Digital Follow-Up Information

After you've verbally explained the patient's options and health, the next steps should be education the patient can access after the appointment. Your patients will have to digest a large amount of information, especially if this is the first time they're hearing about being borderline diabetic. If you already have patient education videos and pamphlets in your patient portal that you can send within your patient follow-up emails, that will make the process more seamless. You can email your patients answers so that they don't have to call the practice later on.

Referrals

If your patients need surgery or specialized care, make sure you have a trust physician, cataract surgeon, and ophthalmologist that you can reach out to. If you're using Uprise EHR and PM, you can send the patient referral directly to the hospital or doctor from the platform. You'll be able to communicate the patient's chart, your notes, and any images needed within your CCD. This way, you can confirm that they've received it and keep track of which patients you've referred over time. 


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