U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Diabetes Education Program

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Enhance Patient-Centered Interactions

When informed patients take an active role in managing their diabetes, and care providers are prepared, proactive, and supported with time and resources, their interaction is likely to be productive. [1] This patient-centered interaction can lead to better diabetes care, more efficient and effective practices, healthier patients, and more satisfied patients, families, and providers. The goal is "to customize care to the specific needs and circumstances of each individual, that is, to modify the care to respond to the person, not the person to the care." [2] Because patients are highly variable in their preferences, they and their families need to be involved with the physician and the health care team in diabetes management decision-making. It is the patients who in reality make the important choices that affect their health and well being, and indeed it is the patients who are in control and experience the consequences of their choices. Providers can guide patients to make better choices.

This section presents seven dimensions of patient-centered care as they relate to people with diabetes, numerous resources to help transform a practice into a PCMH, effective ways to provide patient education and support, and suggestions to address health literacy and build cultural competency.