Addressing the Diabetes Prevention Knowledge Gap

Results of a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine indicate a possible gap in primary care physician (PCP) understanding of “risk factors, diagnostic criteria and recommended management/prevention practices for prediabetes.” In a press release published in Science Daily, the researchers say this knowledge gap “may result from a health care education and reimbursement system that encourages doctors to prioritize treating diabetes once the disease occurs rather than working with patients to prevent it.”

The paper’s lead author, Eva Tseng, M.D., M.P.H., cautions that these gaps could “contribute to doctors underscreening for and missing diagnoses of prediabetes.” And Nisa Maruthur, M.D., M.H.S., one of the paper’s co-authors, says, “Twenty five percent of PCPs may be identifying people as having prediabetes when they actually have diabetes, which could lead to delays in getting those patients proper diabetes care and management.”

The findings represent an opportunity for both PCPs and healthcare systems to improve their awareness of type 2 diabetes prevention programs and encourage more patients to enroll. In addition, as described in the Johns Hopkins press release, “The researchers suggest … better educating physicians about diabetes prevention, providing easier access for both PCPs and their patients to national diabetes prevention lifestyle change programs, increasing insurance coverage of such programs and offering new tools to help PCPs improve the procedures and practices by which they diagnose and treat patients with prediabetes.”

MLMIC encourages all insured physicians, other health care professionals and facilities to explore ways to enhance the education of their patients on the risk of diabetes, implement strategies to recognize prediabetes and provide early intervention for patients as indicated.