Value of Diabetes Educators
Diabetes educators are critically important to the provision of DSMES.42 They have the knowledge and skills necessary to educate people with diabetes about diabetes and its complications.42 In addition, educators possess the communication and support skills needed to deliver comprehensive yet individualized diabetes education that allows individuals to manage daily challenges while working toward long-term behavior change. In short, diabetes educators are “logical facilitator[s] of change” and are well equipped to provide people “with knowledge, skills, and strategies they need and can use.”41,44
Studies indicate that, when provided by diabetes educators in accredited or recognized diabetes education services, DSMES “is both clinically beneficial and cost-effective,” particularly with repeat educational encounters.44 In other words, more time spent with diabetes educators leads to better outcomes.43,47,48
People with diabetes who attend multiple DSMES sessions led by a diabetes educator are more likely to take medications as prescribed and receive recommended care. They also have lower health care costs than individuals with diabetes who do not receive DSMES.
Unfortunately, even though many third-party payers cover DSMES in part or in full,43 participation rates in recognized or accredited services remain low. Low participation may be because eligible people with diabetes are not receiving referrals to DSMES services, or because of barriers to participation. In this context, diabetes educators serve a doubly important role, not only in providing DSMES but in educating insurers, physicians, health care providers, and people with diabetes and their families about the importance and effectiveness of DSMES referrals and participation.
The resources below provide more information on the value of diabetes educators:
Diabetes Education as a Career Choice:
This study examines the field of diabetes education and identifies facilitators and barriers for future healthcare professionals entering the specialty field of diabetes education.
The 2017 Diabetes Educator and the Diabetes Self-Management Education National Practice Survey:
The National Practice Survey (NPS) is conducted biennially to document current practice in diabetes education in the United States with the goal of gaining insight about factors influencing the work of the diabetes educator.
The Future of Diabetes Education: Expanded Opportunities and Roles for Diabetes Educators:
This article reviews the challenges and opportunities associated with the state of practice for diabetes education and diabetes educators.
Reducing the Risks of Diabetes Complications Through Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support:
This report summarizes the discussion of diabetes complications and DSMES and presents recommendations to incorporate into practice to improve outcomes.