Diabetes survey shows experienced patients taking an active role in health care
People with diabetes on MyDiabetesCentral are experienced treaters who prefer pens and pumps to syringes and rate reading discussion forums and interacting on facebook as their top online activities.
We asked about treatment choices, insulin, and online habits in our 2011 diabetes audience survey conducted in May and June. We invited our diabetes newsletter subscribers to take the survey and almost 1,000 people responded.
I’ve highlighted the most interesting responses here.
We’re also surveying our rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s subscribers, so watch for those results soon.
We have more readers with Type 2 diabetes than Type 1:
but both groups have been treating their condition for four years or more.
61% of our audience has changed treatments, either because a doctor recommended it or because they needed better control of their diabetes (click on the images to get a bigger view).
A little less than half of our audience is taking insulin.
People with Type 1 diabetes prefer a pump and people with Type 2 prefer a pen.
Our diabetes readers list participating in discussion forums, using facebook and watching videos as their top online activities.
We also asked about how readers use their cell phones. While the majority of respondents don’t use their cell phones to go online, 25% browse web sites, use applications or both.
Previous research across all our health topics showed that there is a core of engaged patients who want to understand why a treatment works. These people also expect to be a full partner with doctors when it comes to making treatment decisions. This new research showed that many of our diabetes readers want to take an active role in their health care.
To understand what people do with health information they have researched online, we asked members to tell us what they were most likely to do with this data.
This shows that people are willing to try new medications or treatment to get better outcomes.
Percentages and cross-tabulations are great, but I find comments from people to be just as insightful. In addition to treatment questions, we also asked where people get help in managing their diabetes. Unsurprisingly, most people chose “primary care physician” and “endocrinologist” as the main sources of care. One answer was “other, please specify.” The responses we got revealed both frustration with “the system” and self-confidence:
“Internet. The visits to the endocrinologist are every 6 months. The nurses are ADA high carb parrots. Pharmacists have staff that dispense drugs and they substitute the variety of Metformin that is cheapest that month …”
“The PCP knows little about t1, and the endo dumped me back to the PCP, and as for the Diabetes Center, they only know about t2 so I manage on my own.”
“A nurse from my husband’s insurance calls and talks about my condition with me and offers support and advice.”
“I manage very well on my own.”