DOHA, Qatar, An innovative approach, being pioneered by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Internal Medicine Clinic, is helping to improve health outcome for patients with type 2 diabetes.

As part of the Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) initiative, type 2 diabetic patients receiving care at HMC’s Internal Medicine Clinic meet once a month, for a six month period, known as a cycle, to discuss and learn about diabetic care and how the disease impacts their overall health.

The initiative, which is a clinician-led support group, is designed to help patients better manage their blood sugar levels, and in turn their diabetes, by providing accurate information, adequate tools, and the support needed to live well with diabetes.

We introduced this initiative in 2016, as a unique approach to providing care to patients with type 2 diabetes. We created groups of 10 to 12 patients, who would meet monthly to discuss themes relevant to their condition, such as diet, exercise, medication management, health tips for safe fasting during Ramadan and anything else we, or they, felt was relevant.

Interactive group discussions are facilitated by physicians, diabetes educators, and dietitians, and usually last between one and two hours, said Dr Nasseer Masoodi, Vice Chair, Medicine and lead physician for the programme.

To date, the results have been extremely positive. More than 35 patients have completed the programme, with a number of patients reporting a noticeable drop in their blood sugar levels and an overall improvement in their general health.

Dr Aisha Al Kubaisi, Consultant, Medicine at HMC, said, support groups can reinforce proper self-care and offer important social support. She noted that individuals are often more able, and willing, to manage chronic conditions, when they have consistent contact with peers who can provide practical and emotional support.

Professor Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra, Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, says, the programme is one of the first of its kind in the country and possibly the region. He says, the programme’s approach is in line with the provision of a patient-centred model of care that aims to empower patients to be active participants in their own care, as outlined in the National Health Strategy.

Source: Nam News Network