Simple, yet effective, the teach-back technique might make a huge difference when it comes to helping people with type one and two diabetes take responsibility for their own well-being, states a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine
. Teach-back, or a communication technique where patients are encouraged to repeat their treatment plan, could be a deal breaker for 3.9 million people in the UK and 34 million Americans who suffer from the condition.
The study found that teach-back “was associated with … better [patient] knowledge and also their better self-advocacy and their self-management,” said Young-Rock Hong, the study’s lead investigator and the assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Doctor Scott Isaacs, the spokesman for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology and medical director for Atlanta Endocrine Associates, said: “It turns out that when you tell a patient something, they only hear about 10% of what you’re telling them. And so, by using this technique it allows you to assess their understanding and their recall.”
It is crucial that the treatment strategy prescribed by physicians is repeated by the patients before they leave the clinic. While diabetes is usually treated with blood sugar checks, the counting of carbohydrate and insulin injections, the condition can also benefit from lifestyle changes. These can include dietary changes, such as the consumption of foods with vitamin D and magnesium.
The study of 2,900 adults with diabetes found that patients who used the teach-back technique were 20 percent less likely to experience complications related to diabetes. Not just revolutionary when it comes to diabetes self-care, according to research, teach-back could save between $1,400 and $1,700 dollars in health expenditure in the US each year.
While doctors learn about teach-back during their training, the study found that only a quarter of the participants said that their doctor used the technique consistently. Research indicates that this could be due to a perceived lack of time or skepticism about the approach.
Since preventing delays during the treatment of diabetes is crucial, teach-back could make a huge difference when it comes to reducing the complications associated with the condition. “[It] is really important for patients to have that knowledge of the disease and also to be able to comply with treatments,” said Isaacs. “If they don’t understand why they’re being treated or how to follow whatever the treatments are, it’s fighting a losing battle, but little things sometimes make a big difference.”