Patient and Doctor Need to Agree on Goals

Published Online: Sunday, February 1, 2004

    Patients need to work closely with their physician in order to properly manage their diabetes, suggest the results of a study published recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. A University of Michigan Health System study of 127 patient - doctor pairs found that diabetes management improves when patients and physicians agree on treatment goals and strategies. The study also found, however, that few people with diabetes agree with their doctor?s top 3 goals and strategies.

    Patients, for example, are more likely than doctors to list avoiding insulin and getting off medications as priorities. Physicians, on the other hand, are more likely to list lowering blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

    Results of the study showed that only 5% agreed on the top treatment goals and 10% agreed on all 3 treatment strategies. Almost 20% of the patient?doctor pairs did not agree on any of their top 3 treatment goals. The results were not all negative, however. Three of 5 patients agreed with their physicians on at least 1 treatment goal, and >50% agreed on 1 treatment strategy with their doctor. Additionally, 55% of the patients included their physician?s leading goal and strategy among their top 3.

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