Research Activities February 2013, No. 390

An empowerment-based educational approach improves understanding and knowledge for patients with diabetes

Chronic Disease

Patient education is an integral component of high quality diabetes care. Guidelines for diabetes education stress the importance of teaching patients to know the clinical significance of the diabetes ABCs and to be aware of their own personal ABC values. ABC values are three key metabolic markers: hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood-glucose control), systolic blood pressure, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Study participants who received an empowerment educational intervention were much more likely to accurately recall the clinical meaning of the diabetes ABCs as well as their personal ABC values than participants in the traditional educational arm of a new study.

Researchers studied 84 patients with diabetes receiving care at a Veterans Administration Medical Center who self-selected into two groups. The first group received an empowerment approach incorporating a conceptual metaphor to foster understanding, and team-based learning methods to foster active learning. The second group received traditional diabetes education, including a didactic group session focused on self-management and educational materials about the diabetes ABCs.

The researchers believe that their findings should encourage changes in the methods used by diabetes educators to facilitate comprehension and application of the diabetes ABCs, especially in diabetes education programs that are linked to health systems and clinician teams. This study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16093).

See "Knowing the ABCs: A comparative effectiveness study of two methods of diabetes education" by Aanand D. Naik, M.D., Cayla R. Teal, Ph.D., Elisa Rodriguez, B.S., and Paul Haidet, M.D., in Patient Education and Counseling 85, pp. 383-389, 2012.


Page last reviewed February 2013
Page originally created February 2013
Internet Citation: An empowerment-based educational approach improves understanding and knowledge for patients with diabetes. Content last reviewed February 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.