Objectives: Patient education is a compulsory element of the nationwide disease management program (DMP) for type 2 diabetes mellitus in Germany. However, a considerable proportion of patients do not attend diabetes self-management education courses. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe patient-reported reasons for nonparticipation and to identify typical subgroups of nonparticipants in order to improve recruitment strategies.
Study design: The authors performed a cross-sectional observational study on 165 participants and 132 nonparticipants in diabetes education using a postal survey and chart review.
Methods: Participants and nonparticipants were compared using 2-sided t tests and χ2 tests. Nonparticipants were grouped by cluster analysis based on the reasons for nonparticipation.
Results: A total of 95% of participants and 36% of nonparticipants reported to have received a recommendation for diabetes education from their physician. The authors identified 4 typical subgroups of nonparticipants: the "informed and responsible," the "unconcerned without desire for more information," the "uninformed but responsible," and the "anxious and burdened with psychosocial problems and functional limitations."
Conclusions: The physician's recommendation seems to influence participation in diabetes education and should be used intentionally to increase participation rates. Also, differentiating barriers of nonparticipants can be determined by the degree of feeling informed and responsible for diabetes management. Physicians should more clearly explore patients' perception of their knowledge of diabetes and their attribution of responsibility for diabetes management. Starting from this patient perspective might help physicians motivate patients to participate in diabetes education.