‘Teach-Back’ Communication Strategy Aids Diabetes Outcomes

FRIDAY, Dec. 4, 2020 — A simple doctor-patient communication technique known as “teach-back” may lower the risk for health complications with diabetes, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Young-Rock Hong, Ph.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues examined the patterns of patient teach-back experience to determine its association with risk for diabetic complications, hospitalization, and health expenditures among 2,901 U.S. adults with diabetes identified from the Longitudinal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2011 to 2016).

The researchers found that at one-year follow-up, patients with teach-back experience were less likely to develop diabetic complications (adjusted odds ratio, 0.70) and be admitted to the hospital due to diabetic complications (adjusted odds ratio, 0.51). There were also significantly smaller increases in total expenditures among patients with teach-back experience versus those without ($1,920 versus $3,639).

“Patient teach-back is a substantially underused strategy in primary care for those with diabetes, suggesting considerable missed opportunities to enhance the quality of care,” the authors write.

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