"I wish they could be in my shoes": Patients' insights into tertiary health care for type 2 diabetes mellitus
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Background: Insightful accounts of patient experience within a health care system can be valuable for facilitating improvements in service delivery. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore patients’ perceptions and experiences regarding a tertiary hospital Diabetes and Endocrinology outpatient service for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Method: Nine patients participated in discovery interviews with an independent trained facilitator. Patients’ stories were synthesized thematically using a constant comparative approach. Results: Three major themes were identified from the patients’ stories: 1) understanding T2DM and diabetes management with subthemes highlighting that specialist care is highly valued by patients who experience a significant burden of diabetes on daily life and who may have low health literacy and low self confidence; 2) relationships with practitioners were viewed critical and perceived lack of empathy impacted the effectiveness of care; and 3) impact of health care systems on service delivery with lack of continuity of care relating to the tertiary hospital model and limitations with appointment bookings negatively impacting on patient experience. Discussion: The patients’ stories suggest that the expectation of establishing a productive, ongoing relationship with practitioners is highly valued. Tertiary clinics for T2DM are well placed to incorporate novel technological approaches for monitoring and follow-up, which may overcome many of the perceived barriers of traditional service delivery. Conclusion: Investing in strategies that promote patient–practitioner relationships may enhance effectiveness of treatment for T2DM by meeting patient expectations of personalized care. Future changes in service delivery would benefit from incorporating patients as key stakeholders in service evaluation.
Patient Preference and Adherence
© 2015 Cotugno et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.
Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified