Fast Takes: News & Trend Lines, March 2013

March 1, 2013

Staggering numbers have type 2 diabetes

According to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, one in eight American adults (or about 29 million peo­ple) has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Further­more, of those interviewed, more than one-third either have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or reported having a child, sibling, parent, or spouse with the dis­ease.

Most disturbing, 35 percent of polled diabetics say their condition is only “somewhat” controlled. Five percent say it is “not at all” controlled.

Providers don’t support many languages well

A survey of almost 200 health professionals who work directly with patients finds that despite concerted ef­forts, the needs of multicultural patient populations are not well met. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of nurses, dietitians, and other clinicians cite communication and language barriers as key challenges in reaching diverse patient groups. Almost half of respondents state they lack access to language-appropriate patient education materials; just as many cite a need for Chinese-language materials (18 percent), for example, as Spanish-language materials.

Conducted by HealthEd Academy of Clark, NJ, the survey also addresses issues that go beyond language for engaging patients of diverse backgrounds. Only 35 percent of respondents say they use community health workers, and only 1 percent deliver patient education at local pharmacies.

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