Integrating diabetes evidence into practice

Today’s post comes from Maurizio Guidi, Lilly Diabetes External Engagement Lead for Europe and one of our #WeWontRest ambassadors

Almost 60 million people are now affected by diabetes in Europe. This presents a significant burden costing the European economy an astonishing €145bn per year. A recent report complied by the European chapter of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF Europe) looked at how healthcare providers and key stakeholders can support advocacy efforts and bridge the gap between evidence and practice in diabetes care. 

Data analysed across social media, from literary archives and a questionnaire to IDF Europe members provide a comprehensive view of stakeholder perspectives on the current situation of diabetes care in Europe.

The report – supported by an unrestricted grant from Lilly, Sanofi and Roche - identified several barriers to the advancement of diabetes care; including problems with national registries, inappropriate guidelines, and an overall lack of education and empowerment. The overriding issue indicated communication between policy makers, healthcare professionals and diabetes patients was generally insufficient.

IDF Europe gave recommendations to overcome these challenges, and outlined the need for:

1) All key stakeholders, from healthcare providers to people with diabetes, to take an active role in shaping policy initiatives involving diabetes. This means not only through greater collaboration, but by also having an integrated approach to overcome common barriers related to adherence, education and lack of empowerment.

“All stakeholders (policy makers, healthcare professionals, commercial organisations and providers, diabetic patients) should be actively involved in policy initiatives targeted at addressing the diabetes burden and improving quality of lives.”

2) The implementation of diabetes strategies tailored to local circumstances. Since the 1990s, only 22 (58%) IDF European countries have been implementing national diabetes programmes. Stakeholders were not always aware of national guidelines and few had sufficient systems in place to develop such guidelines. The recommended changes would not only see less fragmentation across the regions, but improved communication across the main stakeholders.

3) Improved allocation of resources for both treatment and the efficient distribution of medicines in order to delay complications and ensure adequate support is provided to improve the lives of people with diabetes, while reducing health care system costs.

“Effective human, financial and material resource management strategies are needed to improve the delivery of healthcare systems and patient outcomes, and ultimately reduce therapeutic inertia.”

4) More effective tools to improve adherence to recommended treatment regimes, such as how often the person follows required medical treatment and the frequency of dosing. The proposed interventions include: training of healthcare professionals, continuous monitoring and re-assessment of treatment, assessment of social needs, education on the use of medicines, motivational interventions, and mobilisation of community-based organisations.

5) Ensuring appropriate prevention strategies remain vital to reducing the incidences of diabetes. IDF Europe identified the urgent need to curb the increasing prevalence of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, such as poor diet, lack of exercise and sedentary routines.

The report concludes that there are still significant European-wide challenges in the implementation of evidence-based practice for healthcare systems, healthcare professionals and persons living with diabetes. Putting these recommendations into practice requires a joint effort from the diabetes community, making sure that people with diabetes are at the forefront in our efforts to address the burden, improve health outcomes and quality of life. Since we introduced the first commercially available insulin in 1923, the needs of people with diabetes have continually inspired us to innovate and introduce new ways to get to better outcomes and, that is why, at Lilly #WeWontRest until all stakeholders work together to control this global epidemic.