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  • Dr. Prem Sahasranam, M.D.

How DSMES Session Notes Can Help Doctors Understand More about their Patients’ Health

Every doctor knows how hard it can be to get the “whole story” from patients about their health during appointments. Patients’ emotions and the constraints of office visit time-limitations heavily influence patient-provider interaction, and a chart will only tell you so much. 

It’s not uncommon for anxiety, shame, fear, embarrassment, and other negative emotions to get in the way of patients’ dialogue with their doctors. For a condition like diabetes that requires a high level of literacy and self-discipline to manage effectively, psychology can become even more of a factor in patient-provider engagement. Most patients feel overwhelmed by their diabetes at one point or another, and this can affect how much they share with their doctors. 

Thankfully, diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs offer patients the time, space, and support to discuss all of their questions and concerns, which can help their doctors gain a deeper understanding of their struggles and help them navigate them during their appointments. 

Session notes shared with doctors from DSMES educators can provide a seamless continuum of care by helping doctors understand patients’ everyday and long-term struggles.

What Your Patients May Not Be Telling You

Recent data indicates that nearly half of Americans insured under Medicare have not told their doctors the whole truth at least once. Additional research suggests that as many as 60% to 80% of Americans as a whole may not be forthcoming with their physicians about information that could impact their health. The most common issues patients tend to conceal information about include: 

  • Diet and nutrition issues

  • Exercise habits and physical activity

  • Adherence to their medication and treatment

All of these issues are incredibly important in diabetes management, and omitting or concealing information can lead to a severe escalation of health issues and the worsening of patients’ conditions. 

Why They May Not Be Telling You

There are many reasons why patients may not give their doctors the whole story during their appointments:  

  • Many feel rushed during their appointments and aren’t able to articulate the full breadth of their struggles. 

  • Some people withhold information because they feel ashamed that they haven’t been able to get their condition under control. 

  • Some may feel angry and frustrated that they don’t know enough to manage their diabetes (even though it’s totally normal) and shut down during appointments. 

  • Many people are reluctant to break old lifestyle habits required for successful diabetes management, so they may mask how much they’re struggling. 

  • Many aren’t even sure what to share because they don’t know enough about the impact, challenges, and risks of diabetes. 

Finally, many patients are just simply overwhelmed and burned out thinking about their diabetes and need extra help gathering their thoughts, articulating their pain points, and forming a game plan for effective management. 

DSMES Programs Help Doctors Get A Clearer Picture 

Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs are a bridge of communication between patients and their doctors. When DSMES programs facilitate close, 1:1 trust and sharing between educator and patient, they can help patients open up about their diabetes struggles in a way they may not be able to during the traditional doctor’s office visit by giving them: 

  • More time - DSMES sessions are significantly longer than a traditional doctor’s office visit. This allows patients the time and comfort to express themselves more freely, overcome the emotional barriers that get in the way of communication, and even remember things that they may have forgotten about their health. 

  • A supportive ear - Accredited and experienced educators know how to quickly build trust and rapport with their patients through consistent, supportive engagement. When patients know someone with knowledge is invested in their care, they are more inclined to share more about what they’re going through. 

  • An experienced wealth of knowledge and advice - DSMES educators are acutely aware of all the different struggles that patients experience, from nutritional to lifestyle management to mental health challenges and everything in between. They’re specifically trained in diabetes support, and there’s nothing they haven’t heard. They can help patients understand that, while their challenges may be unique, they’re not alone. 

When DSMES educators share the patient insights they learn with their patients’ doctors, it gives doctors a fuller picture of each patient and greater clarity on how to best proceed with their care. 

What Can DSMES Session Notes Tell Doctors about their Patients’ Struggles?

DSMES session notes go beyond numbers and metrics to provide deeper context as to why patients may be struggling. For example, a patient may reveal specific reasons why they’re struggling to control their meds, maintain their nutrition, or make the necessary lifestyle changes for proper diabetes management. Patients’ specific struggles are hard to capture and unpack within the time limitations of a traditional office visit. On the other hand, understanding them is instrumental in improving care and giving the right clinical guidance. 

Collaborating with Your Patients’ DSMES Educators to Achieve Better Outcomes

When DSMES educators share session information with patients’ doctors, it helps provide a more complete picture of the patient as a person and can help tailor the course of care to the patient’s unique concerns and challenges. 

For example, if a doctor gains deeper insights into why patients are having trouble taking their medications, they can focus on adherence guidance techniques, whether it’s better explaining how and why these meds should be taken, simplifying the medication regimen, or anything else. If they discover that another health condition is getting in the way of a patient controlling their diabetes, they can work to provide a care plan that addresses these two co-occurring issues. 

In other words, DSMES session notes get patients and doctors on the same page, literally and figuratively. This is why My Diabetes Tutor educators provide patients’ doctors with the most robust and comprehensive session notes and make it easy to share them by uploading them directly to their EHR systems. 

We’ve helped doctors all across the country leverage insights from session notes to provide deeper patient understanding to inform care, and we’re ready to do the same for you. Contact us today to learn more. 

Call 844-623-0999 or email today to discover what we can do for your patients.


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