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Kellie Rodriguez Outlines the Role of a Diabetes Educator With Financial Challenges

Diabetes educators can help patients with diabetes who face financial challenges make appropriate choices and receive assistance to afford medications, said Kellie Rodriguez, RN, MSN, MBA, CDE, director, Global Diabetes Program, Parkland Health & Hospital System.


Diabetes educators can help patients with diabetes who face financial challenges make appropriate choices and receive assistance to afford medications, said Kellie Rodriguez, RN, MSN, MBA, CDE, director, Global Diabetes Program, Parkland Health & Hospital System.

What are some of the challenges diabetes educators anticipate as patients are asked to assume more financial responsibility for their care?

It’s a real privilege to be a diabetes educator. We really get to immerse ourselves in the lived world of the patient and the person living with diabetes. And with that comes a real responsibility. So, the self-care requirements—it’s a disease of self-care—the self-care requirements are extensive and they’re daily and they’re unrelenting. So, all the lifestyle requirements, the monitoring, the medication requirements, the visit requirements are all very costly, and so, what it does require us to do is start to think a little bit more creatively around prioritizing care and looking for strategies and solutions that may be less costly. Or being able to adapt our recommendations to the lived world of the patient.

So, if finances are a challenge and they’re living from the dollar menu, we need to be able to accommodate that and not say, “That’s not appropriate,” but look for appropriate choices in those sorts of areas. Same with medications, looking for prescription assistance programs to support some of the needs for people to be able to achieve the medications that they have. So, there’s a lot of different strategies that we need to be mindful of.

I think the key is to be able to assess it first and to recognize it’s a problem. And I think in healthcare we’re doing a better job of moving away from just clinical assessment to more of the lived world assessment to be able to better understand that’s a concern and be sure that we incorporate that in all of our strategies including pharmacotherapy choices. Sometimes the best pharmacotherapy choice may not be the best patient choice, but we’re going to make the best patient choice, because that’s what’s going to lead to the best outcomes.

 
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