Access to diabetes self-management education: results of national surveys of patients, educators, and physicians

Diabetes Educ. Mar-Apr 2009;35(2):246-8, 252-6, 258-63. doi: 10.1177/0145721708329546. Epub 2009 Feb 10.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health
  • Behavior
  • Data Collection
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / rehabilitation*
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patients
  • Physicians
  • Self Care*
  • Telephone