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  • Writer's pictureJodi Hughes

Reframing Diabetes Management: Empowering Patients Through Language 


Language is not just a tool for communication; it's a powerful force that shapes our perceptions, beliefs, and actions, especially in the realm of healthcare. When it comes to managing diabetes, the words we choose can profoundly impact patients' confidence, motivation, and ability to navigate their condition effectively. In this blog post, SweetSpots's Director of Diabetes Education & Clinical Services, Jodi Hughes, RD, LDN, CDCES, explores how simple adjustments in language can empower patients and foster collaboration in their diabetes care journey, ultimately maximizing their potential for positive health outcomes.

Empowerment Over Control: Redefining Diabetes Management

Living with diabetes is a dynamic journey filled with challenges that extend beyond an individual's complete control. Production and utilization varies from person to person and so instead of emphasizing control, we can shift our focus to managing glucose levels. By reframing our language to emphasize "management" over "control," we acknowledge the ongoing process of monitoring, learning, and adapting. This shift empowers patients to take an active role in their health journey, fostering a sense of agency and ownership.

Beyond Testing: Embracing the Power of Data

The language we use when discussing blood sugar monitoring can either inspire confidence or instill anxiety in patients. The term "testing" suggests a binary outcome—pass or fail—which can create unnecessary pressure and discouragement. Instead, frame it as "monitoring" or "checking" to highlight the importance of gathering data to inform decision-making. Viewing blood sugar checks as valuable data points empowers patients to participate in their health care without the fear of judgment or failure.

Optimizing for Success: Rethinking Insulin Adjustment Language

Adjusting insulin doses or managing glucose levels is not about fixing mistakes; it's about optimizing health and well-being. The language we use should reflect this positive mindset. Instead of focusing on "correcting" deviations from target ranges, we can discuss "optimizing" or "fine-tuning" treatment plans. This reframing encourages patients to see adjustments as opportunities for improvement, fostering a sense of progress and collaboration between patients and healthcare providers.

From Blame to Support: Eliminating Language of Failure

Words have the power to uplift or deflate, especially when it comes to discussing health outcomes. Phrases that assign blame or imply failure can erode patients' confidence and motivation. Instead of using language like "failed on medication" or "cheated on their diet," we can provide feedback in a constructive and non-judgmental manner. By acknowledging the complexities of managing diabetes without assigning blame, we create a supportive environment where patients feel empowered to learn and grow.

Simple changes in language can have a profound impact on patient engagement and empowerment. By using supportive and empowering language in our interactions, we create a culture of collaboration and trust.


Instead of: "Did you test your blood sugar today?"

Try: "Did you check your blood sugar today?"


Instead of: "We need to control your diabetes"

Try: "Let's discuss strategies to manage your blood sugar levels."


Instead of: "Patient failed on metformin."

Try: "Metformin didn't lower the patient's blood sugar to target levels."


It is important to remember that we are all human. We all make choices, and sometimes these choices impact our health. By using supportive language, we establish a space for open communication and collaboration in diabetes management. This collaborative approach supports patients to take ownership of their health and achieve positive outcomes.

Why This Matters to Us

At SweetSpot, we are committed to empowering individuals with diabetes to lead their healthiest lives. We believe that language plays a crucial role in shaping patients' experiences and outcomes. That's why we integrate the power of positive language into all aspects of our programs and services, from patient education to clinical care. By prioritizing collaboration, empathy, and empowerment, we aim to maximize the value of every interaction and support our patients in achieving their health goals.

Have you observed the impact of language in your practice? Share your insights in the comments below! Together, let's continue to empower and uplift patients on their diabetes journey.

Want to hear more expert insights from the SweetSpot team? Check out our other blogs here!


Want to learn more about SweetSpot and how we are revolutionizing diabetes management? Check out our website or shoot us a message at info@sweetspot.health.  


 

SweetSpot is a remote diabetes management platform that integrates with multiple CGM and insulin delivery devices, like Dexcom, FreeStyle Libre, Tandem, Medtronic, and more, to provide physicians with a single view of their patients’ data. SweetSpot's intelligent algorithm identifies the most optimal CPT codes for both remote and in-person diabetes management, and a dedicated team of Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialists are available to provide ongoing support.  


As a company founded and powered by physicians and diabetes care providers, we place a strong emphasis on ensuring that there are no obstacles to getting started with SweetSpot. That’s why SweetSpot is easy to set up and designed to seamlessly integrate into your existing workflows and comes with no setup costs or subscription fees. 

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