Diabetes is a disease that has a significant impact on podiatric health. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are currently over 30 million Americans (that’s over 9% of the population) who have diabetes and 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed each year. It’s clear that diabetic patients are going to continue to make up a significant portion of most practices and at the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) we know that meeting the needs of these patients can greatly increase your success. In honor of National Diabetes Month, we’d like to offer the following suggestions for reaching out to patients with diabetes:
- Inform—let patients know that November is National Diabetes Month. The American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) is a great source of information and can provide infographs and other handouts for you to display and use in the office.
- Teach—help patients with diabetes be proactive in the care of their feet. Encourage them to set up a regular appointment schedule. Be sure they know how to properly inspect their feet and the importance of doing so. Emphasize that you want to hear from them if there are any unusual changes or signals of a potential irritation or wound. This is also a good time to remind them of the importance of not going barefoot, keeping feet warm and dry and being careful of water temperature when washing feet.
- Recommend—we all know that shoes can play a larger role in the podiatric health of any patient but those with diabetes need to take particular care in selecting footwear. Either through your practice itself or other trusted vendors, take this opportunity to show patients with diabetes the best types of shoes to protect their feet.
- Check in—use National Diabetes Month as an opportunity to touch base with your diabetic patients and see if they have any questions about diabetes and the care of their feet. This shows your practice is current, relevant and is interested in the health of each individual patient.
At IPED, we know from our members that improving patient outcomes and satisfaction is a top priority. Part of our mission is to help podiatric professionals connect so information can be shared to achieve a continued standard of excellence in the field. To learn more, contact our Executive Director, Ruth Ann Donahue by calling: 978-296-7634.