Partners in health

JAOA examines the osteopathic approach to diabetes care

When combined with a team-based care model, osteopathic medicine can improve the treatment of patient with diabetes, the JAOA reports.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus is reaching near-epidemic proportions—29.1 million people in the U.S. affected at an estimated cost of $245 billion a year, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. Osteopathic medicine’s unique approach to patient-centered care coupled with the coordinated care approach of patient-centered medical homes and accountable
care organizations could be the key to improving health care for these patients, according to a recent supplement of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).

Based on an expert roundtable discussion, the JAOA supplement explores ways the principles of osteopathic medicine can complement these team-based models of health care. For instance, osteopathic medicine’s emphasis on comprehensive disease management, positive patient-physician relationships and meaningful patient engagement aligns well with the goal of patient-centered medical homes to empower patients to become more involved in their own care.

“I take the time to discuss with patients their questions and concerns and make every effort to help them accept that this disease is chronic and will not always improve,” co-author Jay H. Shubrook, DO, is quoted in the supplement. “I also remind my patients that when their disease course improves, it is their own doing.”

Tips for treating patients with diabetes

The supplement authors suggest DOs do the following:

  • Make good use of electronic medical records to monitor treatment provided outside the office and evaluate continuity of care.
  • Encourage patients to take advantage of information and tools available in patient portals to improve their health, which can ultimately help reduce costs of care.
  • Remind patients that diabetes is a self-managed disease; provide them with positive messages and support them when they face setbacks.

See the JAOA supplement for the complete roundtable discussion.

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