Patient decision aids launched for Type 2 diabetes

Totally Health PDAs to enhance shared decision making principles

A further two patient decision aids (PDAs) have been launched as part of an NHS bid to tackle the growing cost of treating people with long-term conditions.

The PDAs – Diabetes Type 2: Improving Control and Diabetes Type 2: Additional Treatments to Improve Control , are being delivered by Totally Health as part of the national NHS Right Care Shared Decision Making (SDM) Programme , which is funded by the Department of Health QIPP Programme.

The aids have been developed on the belief that patients and their clinicians bring equally valuable input to the table when patients reach a decision crossroads in their care pathways.

These patient decision aids enable people go through a process to come to some conclusions about what matters to them the most when it comes to their care

Aimed at fulfilling the NHS pledge of ‘no decision about me, without me’, the various modules are designed to help patients understand and consider the pros and cons of possible options and to encourage communication between patients and healthcare professionals.

The PDAs feature evidence-based information, images, diagrams and animations, developed in conjunction with the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Evidence Centre. The information has been sourced and approved by leading medics across a number of specialist fields of medicine.

According to Diabetes UK, there are three million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and an estimated 850,000 people who are as yet undiagnosed. It can also be a major cause of additional health problems including heart attacks and strokes and kidney, eye and foot problems. Many of these associated conditions can be avoided and prevented if the condition is well managed.

Dr Simon Eaton, a consultant physician and diabetologist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust based at North Tyneside General Hospital; and the medical advisory group lead for the diabetes PDAs, said: “As a long-term condition, people with diabetes can struggle to be engaged with their own care. This is often due to a lack of information, combined with the fact that diabetes doesn’t readily tell those who have it what it is doing. Patients may well feel that they are OK, when actually their condition is silently deteriorating. This can make it more difficult to make difficult decisions about their care.

“Our aim in developing the two PDAs is both to help individuals make informed decisions, but also to help them understand that they have a choice about their care. In doing so, we aim to educate patients that there is a different conversation to be had with their clinical support team.”

Our aim in developing the two PDAs is both to help individuals make informed decisions, but also to help them understand that they have a choice about their care. In doing so, we aim to educate patients that there is a different conversation to be had with their clinical support team

Commenting on the difference between the two aids, Eaton added: “The improving control PDA is designed to help a person decide between not making any changes at all or trying to improve control by either improving what they are doing already, such as losing weight or taking their tablets more regularly, or by adding in extra treatments. These choices will really work for anyone with Type 2 diabetes.

“The second PDA is specifically designed for people who are already on tablet treatments for diabetes and want to know what options they have for extra treatments. The options include insulin and other injection treatments, so are a bigger deal than just tablets, and so thinking through all the pros and cons of each option can be valuable for them.”

Tracy Kelly, head of care at Diabetes UK, welcomed the launch. She told BBH : “These are great practical and innovative tools that can help people with diabetes become more engaged with their own care. These patient decision aids enable people go through a process to come to some conclusions about what matters to them the most when it comes to their care. The aids also help them to consider the benefits and potential negatives of each option, allowing them to make a more informed decision about their treatment. Hopefully they will give people with diabetes the information they need to feel more confident about managing their condition and their involvement in the decision-making process.”

Totally Health has devised and designed these PDAs by assembling medical advisory groups in each disease area including national clinical leaders and representatives from the third sector and patient groups. The Totally Health team has also worked closely with BMJ Evidence, which has developed the evidenced-based editorial content of the aids.

Wendy Lawrence, chief executive of Totally Plc, said: “These PDAs have been designed to be used at the point where patients need to make decisions on the treatment they receive, although they can be used at any stage and can be revisited at any point in a patient’s journey. It is about making sure that patients are informed about what their options are and what they can expect so that the outcome is the best it can be. Totally Health is very proud to be part of this very important project.”

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