Purpose: To examine factors related to access to diabetes self-management education (DSME), including services delivered and sought; patient, physician, and program barriers to access; educator outreach and expansion efforts; and perceptions of alternative DSME delivery strategies.
Methods: Internet surveys were completed by 1169 adults with diabetes (661 with prior DSME, 508 with no prior DSME) from a national community survey panel, 1871 educators who were AADE members, and 629 physicians (212 diabetes specialists, 417 primary care practitioners) from a national physician survey panel.
Results: Physicians want patients to receive more self-management support, but some report that patients are told to do things with which the physician does not agree. Provider (physician and educator)-delivered DSME is more highly regarded among those who have received it than among those who have not received it. Physicians generally have positive perceptions of provider-delivered DSME, and educators see physicians as key to encouraging DSME use in patients. Some physicians are concerned about losing patients sent to DSME, and 11% of patients report changing physicians as a result of DSME. Most DSME programs have grown recently as a result of recruiting efforts and adding new programs/services; most programs plan more such efforts. Patients prefer traditional DSME sources/settings and are moderately accepting of media sources.
Conclusions: Additional efforts are required to guarantee that all people with diabetes receive the DSME they need. This will require increased referral by physicians, increased follow-through by patients, and increased availability of DSME in forms that make it appealing to patients and physicians.