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Richard Bergenstal Part 4, Tips for Managing Diabetes Patients

In part 4 of this Exclusive Interview, Richard Bergenstal shares his favorite (common sense) tricks of treatment in managing diabetes patients in a discussion with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed.

Richard Bergenstal MD, is an endocrinologist and Executive Director of the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Transcript of this video segment: Tips for Managing Diabetes Patients

Freed: So, as an endocrinologist and working with patients over the years —  

Bergenstal: Yup.

Freed: — you’ve developed certain tricks and tools that have benefited your patients. Does that make you different than other endocrinologists, or at least you have your own personal set of the way you do things?

Bergenstal: Yeah.

Freed: Obviously have been successful, otherwise you wouldn’t still be in practice. So, what are some — can you give us some of those tips, techniques that you can share for other medical professionals?

Bergenstal: Yeah. I mean, a lot of them are sort of cliches or common sense but they’re real. So, the first trick is get a good team. And I’m really a firm believer in the team, so the nurse and nutritionist are just critical, and psychologist, to my practice. They’re not there everyday, every moment but they are critical. Number two is really listening to the patient. We all have a tendency to look at the medical record, make a decision, go in and tell the patient, and you just can’t do it. You’ve got to sit down and have a discussion, and agree on something.

Looking at the data, you know I’m a huge fan of Ambulatory Glucose Profile, a way to display glucose data. If you can put a report in front of a patient that they understand in 30 seconds they can see where they’re high, where they’re low, it just makes all that decision-making and the adherence to the therapy much better. Then, I’ll say one more thing, an occasional phone call after a visit. I know people say I don’t have time, I’m too busy, I’m not paid for it. The times I call a patient back a week later, make a note to say, “Call this patient,” it just works that they say, “Oh, my gosh. One, you cared. Two, yes, I did try that and I was hesitant because of this.” So, little things like that.

Freed: I think that’s huge, like you say calling the patient. If they really think that you care, they’re going to be more careful and just as a reminder that they have to be more active in their own care.

Bergenstal: It makes a difference. You teach self-management but a little support along the way gets people much more engaged.

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