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Pilot Education Program Teaches Self-Management Skills For Diabetes

Teaching patients critical self-management skills in a new educational program to help primary care physicians and their staffs improve treatment for patients with diabetes is a new pilot program being offered by Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

Preventing diabetes-related complications requires early detection, individualized treatment and highly structured care, Joslin said.

Joslin Diabetes SmartStart™ aims to provide primary care physicians and their staffs with the educational tools, information and support necessary to provide that specialized care to 19,500 diabetes patients.

Following the pilot, Joslin said it will evaluate patient, office staff and physician satisfaction, and glycemic control of patients.

"As the diabetes epidemic sweeps across America, Joslin is urgently exploring many innovative approaches to putting Joslin knowledge at the fingertips of clinicians and patients to enhance care," said Dr. Alan C. Jacobson, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Joslin Diabetes Center.

"We’ve designed Joslin Diabetes SmartStart™ as an efficient, cost-effective way for primary care physicians and their staffs to learn how Joslin experts recommend they treat and teach their patients with diabetes. Ideally, the result will be a noticeable improvement in A1C levels of patients," he explained.

Trained diabetes educators are assigned to advise each participating office and will provide physicians’ staffs with instruction including: a review of diabetes management skills, insulin planning, blood glucose monitoring, the role of food and physical activity, and ways to reduce complications.

Each physician practice will also receive educational materials to use with patients. Joslin will encourage each physician to meet periodically with his or her newly trained staff to discuss ways that Joslin Diabetes SmartStart™ materials and educational techniques can be incorporated into the workings of a busy practice.

Physicians will receive Joslin’s Diabetes Deskbook: A Guide for Primary Care Providers, as well as a Joslin Diabetes SmartStart™ kit containing patient education and support materials in English and in Spanish, and an office resource manual that includes Joslin’s Clinical Guidelines.

"The Joslin philosophy that a well-educated patient is a healthier patient is proven every day at Joslin Clinic in Boston," said Sonya Celeste-Harris, RN, MSN, program operations manager.

Address: Joslin Diabetes Center, One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215; (617) 732-2400,

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