Advancing Integrated Diabetes Care: Highlights from ICIC24

Advancing Integrated Diabetes Care: Highlights from ICIC24

 

In our recent International Conference on Integrated Care, we chaired different sessions under the topic of really relevant topics regarding non communicable conditions.

During these sessions we explored various aspects of diabetes care, shedding light on innovative approaches and strategies aimed at improving outcomes for individuals living with this condition. These sessions were not just standalone discussions; they represented a collective effort to address the complex challenges of diabetes management through integrated, patient-centered, and culturally sensitive approaches.

One overarching theme that emerged from these sessions was the importance of integrating care across different healthcare settings, sectors and disciplines. Whether it was developing regional pathways, community-based interventions, or collaborative models between mental health and diabetes specialists, the goal remained consistent: to provide seamless and comprehensive support for individuals with diabetes. As many of our speakers highlighted in their sessions, integrated care ensures that people receive holistic care addressing all aspects of their health, leading to better outcomes and enhanced satisfaction with care.

A key element of this integrated care approach is the focus on person-centered care. Throughout the sessions, there was a strong emphasis on co-designing interventions and tools with people and communities to meet their needs and preferences effectively. By involving people in the design process, care team members can ensure that interventions are more relevant, engaging, and ultimately more successful in improving health outcomes. This person-centered approach fosters empowerment, engagement, and adherence to treatment plans, ultimately leading to better health outcomes.

Technology also played a significant role in our discussions in Belfast, offering new avenues for delivering care and engaging individuals and communities. Whether it was through virtual pharmacy services, digital assessment tools, or telemedicine platforms, technology-enabled solutions provide opportunities to improve convenience, accessibility, and effectiveness of diabetes management. These innovations empower people to take control of their health while also facilitating better communication and coordination among care team members.

Preventive strategies were another central theme, emphasizing the importance of addressing risk factors and providing support early to prevent the development or progression of diabetes and related complications. By focusing on prevention, we can reduce the burden of diabetes on individuals and healthcare systems alike, ultimately leading to better health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.

Finally, the sessions presented during ICIC24 highlighted the importance of cultural sensitivity and equity in diabetes care. By acknowledging and respecting the unique beliefs, values, and practices of diverse populations, including First Nations communities, we can ensure that interventions are effective and accessible to all. Co-designing models of care with these communities promotes health equity and reduces disparities in diabetes outcomes.

In addition to the themes discussed, the project DIGICARE4YOU focused on preventing diabetes through collaborative efforts between primary healthcare and schools supported by technology. This project exemplifies the integrated, person-centered approach advocated in our sessions by involving schools in diabetes prevention efforts, leveraging technology for education and monitoring, and empowering primary health care providers to coordinate and deliver preventive interventions. By integrating preventive efforts into existing systems like schools and primary healthcare, DIGICARE4YOU creates a sustainable approach that addresses the immediate health needs while promoting health literacy and empowering individuals and families to take control of their health from a young age, aligning with the principles of person-centered care and fostering a culture of wellness.

In conclusion, ICIC24 series of sessions underscored the need for a holistic approach to diabetes care—one that prioritizes integration, person-centeredness, innovation, prevention, and equity. By addressing these key themes, we can work towards improving outcomes and quality of life for individuals living with diabetes, ultimately building healthier and more resilient communities.

Alejandro Gil Salmerón
Senior Researcher
The International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC)