Eighty percent of patients with diabetes have uncontrolled blood sugars, blood pressures, or cholesterol. Lack of communication among health care professionals and failure to include community pharmacists when patients transition to outpatient care could be largely to blame.
The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions has published a study that assessed the effect of interprofessional education (IPE) on the quality of diabetes care. IPE programs encourage collaboration and knowledge among health professions using reciprocal learning in realistic practice situations. Ideally, the teamwork translates to a habit of open communication among all health care professionals.
The study used The Diabetes, Multidisciplinary, and Experiential (DIAMANTE) program to prepare community pharmacists to manage patients with diabetes in a team-based approach. DIAMANTE is a 2-week course led by various health care professionals (eg endocrinologists, pharmacists, dietitians, podiatrists). DIAMANTE’s strategy is to improve understanding through patient cases and active participation in potential clinical situations with the help of experts.
The researchers administered a survey to 10 participants 1 week before and 2 weeks after the training to quantify their knowledge, improvement, and attitudes toward the program. The participants indicated that they learned far more from the interactive, experiential design than traditional lecture-based trainings. They also verbalized increased respect for other health care professionals through the interactive approach.
The clinical assessment results showed large increases in knowledge of diabetes. Every participant scored a 100% on the exit exam. A majority of participants would recommend the DIAMANTE program for their colleagues.
The study’s small sample size and lack of follow up on long term effects of DIAMANTE limit its applicability slightly. But its positive effects on community pharmacist’s knowledge, confidence, and teamwork skills seem like strong enough reasons to begin administering experiential programs like DIAMANTE in every pharmacy.
The usefulness of collaborative active learning IPE programs could, with some fine-tuning, be extended to management of all chronic illnesses, not just diabetes.
Siaw MYL, Ang SW, Lee JY. Evaluation of the diabetes, multidisciplinary, experiential (DIAMANTE) program for retail pharmacists: a mixed-method study. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2017 Spring;37(2):116-122.