Being in the top ten percent often is seen as a good thing. For example, ten percent of the richest people in the United States own almost 70 percent of the country’s total wealth. If you’re a student in the top ten percent, your grade point average is higher than 90 percent of your classmates. 

There are other instances when the ten percent category isn’t favorable. About 10 percent of United States adults have a drug use disorder at some point in their lives. Just 10 percent of Americans account for nearly 60 percent of alcohol sales. And, roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population — approximately 37.3 million individuals — have diabetes. The disease is more common among Asian, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic people than non-Hispanic White individuals. 

Complications of Diabetes 

The year 2021 marked the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Even with the widespread availability of insulin, complications from diabetes are increasing for young adults aged 18-44 and middle-aged adults aged 45-64. Possible complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) 
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy) 
  • Eye damage (retinopathy)
  • Foot damage 
  • Skin and mouth conditions 
  • Hearing impairment 
  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Depression 

Diabetes also takes a marked toll on the healthcare industry, with approximately $327 billion annually being spent on diabetes-related costs. That figure doesn’t include the roughly $90 billion in reduced productivity due to the disease. 

Recommended Diabetes Care Management 

Individuals with diabetes must actively participate in their lifelong care to successfully manage it. Common clinical recommendations include eating healthful foods, getting regular physical activity and losing any excess weight. 

There are several other ways individuals can manage their diabetes to prevent complications. One key is screenings, which can help prevent diseases of the eyes, kidneys and nerves. Another is blood sugar management, which can reduce the risk of eye, kidney and nerve diseases by 40 percent. Also, patients should adhere to any medication guidelines prescribed by their physician, even if they have their diabetes under control. 

Following are some additional diabetes care recommendations — straight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Every three months:

  • Visit your doctor and have an A1C test taken if you’re having trouble meeting your treatment goals.

Every six months:

  • Visit your doctor and have an A1C test taken if you’re having trouble meeting your treatment goals.
  • Schedule a dental exam to get your teeth and gums cleaned, and let your dentist know you have diabetes.

Every year:

Barriers to Routine Medical Care 

As these CDC recommendations indicate, lifestyle management and regular doctor’s appointments that provide individualized education and treatment plans are essential parts of achieving optimal glycemic control. However, a large proportion of adults with Type 2 diabetes miss these appointments. 

Statistics show that 12-36 percent of individuals with Type 2 diabetes don’t keep their regular medical appointments. These patients have 24–64 percent greater odds of having poor glycemic outcomes and 60 percent greater odds of rehospitalization. 

Why do patients miss scheduled appointments? Some of the most common reasons include forgetfulness, transportation problems, personal health issues and family and employer obligations. As we mentioned in a previous blogpatients also miss appointments because:

  • They didn’t get an appointment confirmation.
  • They don’t feel connected to the physician or staff.
  • They booked their appointment far in advance.
  • They’re confused about the need for the appointment.
  • They have financial issues creating a barrier to showing up.  

Not only do no-shows threaten the continuity of care, they also increase chances that high-risk patients will return with more serious and costly conditions that could have been addressed sooner—or even prevented. 

The Advantages of Utilizing Text Messaging for Appointment Reminders 

Routinely reaching out to patients, especially those with a chronic illness such as diabetes, can play a crucial part in facilitating their access to care. It also assists patients and their families in better understanding the importance of self-management away from the doctor’s office. 

To continue engaging with diabetic patients, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a patient-centered communication style that incorporates patient preferences, assesses literacy and addresses cultural barriers to care. Without adequate engagement, these patients are likely to have higher glucose levels, which may result in severe complications. 

An increasingly popular method for engaging diabetic patients for the purpose of improving outcomes is automated text messaging. Text messaging is the most common cell phone activity, and interventions using this technology have high potential for scalability and reductions in health disparities. 

Following participation in text-messaging programs, patients with diabetes have reported high levels of satisfaction and changes to their diet and other behaviors. Research published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth reported that an automated text messaging program delivering friendly reminders and health advice for patients with Type 2 diabetes sustained a high level of patient engagement over a 12-month period. 

To mitigate no-shows and cancellations, a simple courtesy appointment reminder sent via text gives patients the opportunity to confirm if the date and time still work and enables them to reschedule if necessary. Proactively reaching out to patients also helps eliminate lapses in care, which can be costly for both the patient and the healthcare provider. 

Talk with our solutions team to understand how CareMessenger will enhance your patient engagement with your diabetic population.