In his role as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at Joslin Diabetes Center, Robert A. Gabbay, MD, PhD, has had a lot of experience working with diabetes educators.
Using that knowledge and experience, Dr. Gabbay will share his ideas of how diabetes educators can use their unique skillset to bring additional value to their institutions and people in his Friday morning keynote “The Changing Healthcare Environment: Finding the Right Fit for the Diabetes Educator” at 8:00 am in Exhibit Hall A.
“The term diabetes educator really sells short the full skillset that these wonderful individuals bring to their role because they are fundamentally problem solvers and helpers and guides for people that are not doing well with their diabetes,” said Dr. Gabbay, who is also Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Gabbay’s research concentrates on improving health care delivery models to enhance diabetes outcomes and individual experiences. This has included implementation of the Patient Centered Medical Home in primary care, where he led one of the first large medical home pilots across 150 practices and 80,000 people with diabetes. His interventions have included behavior change using self-management education and support, decision support, technology, motivational interviewing, population health, medical neighborhood, and care management.
“Health care is changing significantly, and in part, that change in health care is driven by a number of forces,” he said.
The move toward value-based payments and organizations being responsible for the total cost of care for a population are particularly relevant to diabetes educators.
“All of these sort of macro things that are happening in health care ultimately will drive a number of changes, including providing a great opportunity to redefine the roles of what diabetes educators do in the not too distant future,” he added.
His talk will outline some of the external forces driving health care change and provide the argument that these changes are an opportunity for diabetes educators to define a newer role for their profession.
“Inevitably there’s going to be a need to focus on high-risk people and take a population based approach. If you’re going to do that and you’re going to focus on high risk people with diabetes, who better knows how to help those people than diabetes educators?” he said.
Dr. Gabbay hopes that those who attend his presentation will leave with the knowledge they need to advocate for themselves and to help shape an expanded role for their profession.
“One of the defined roles that already exist out there is care managers, and every organization is hiring them and needing them,” he said. “In many ways, diabetes educators are care managers for diabetes. Rebranding themselves with that skillset will make them even more valuable to the system, to be able to demonstrate their value in working with the high risk individuals because that’s the biggest bang for the buck for a health system whose perspective is the focus on the high risk.”