Choose the Right Program

Diabetes Management in the Workplace

Diabetes Program Strategies: Choose the Right Program

Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to put your program together. Whether you are adding diabetes awareness and education to an existing worksite wellness program or looking for a more turn-key option, consider the following elements:

  • Demographics: Age, gender and ethnicity can all add to risk. What does your population look like?
  • Employee turnover rate: If this is high, are you prepared to invest in a program for a transient employee base?
  • Impact of diabetes on your bottom line: What is diabetes currently costing your company? What effect will a new program have on this?
  • Potential barriers to participation: For employees, privacy concerns, trust and motivation are often major road blocks. How will you address any barriers?
  • Supportive work environment: A comprehensive diabetes program will only be successful if the corporate culture is supportive. Provide a culture that encourages employees to adopt a physically active lifestyle and make healthy food choices. Does your organization have a safe and convenient walking path? If so, promote it! Are healthy foods served at corporate events? Through the onsite cafeteria and vending, are healthy choices made available at a discounted price? If not, work with your foodservice vendor to provide low cost, healthy options. Surround your employees with a culture in which the healthy option is the most convenient and easy option!
  • Screening and education efforts: Use strategies focused on delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes. Offer biometric screenings that include measuring risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease such as glucose, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. Do you already have a screening program in place? Is screening data being used to proactively outreach to those with pre-diabetes? diabetes? Screening is a great first step, but without follow-up interventions and education, behavior change is not likely.
  • Preventive health plan benefit: What tests and exams are currently offered? annual comprehensive eye exam? foot exam? periodic A1C blood tests? These high value services are relatively inexpensive and provide insights into disease progression. Early detection is key to avoiding costly complications.
  • Existing program gaps: What knowledge or skill gaps exist in the population? Has adherence to medications and treatment been addressed? Is there a health literacy problem? Do people understand how to effectively use their health benefits? Would an incentive motivate better adherence and management?

Program Strategy Categories

Depending on the target audience, diabetes management programs include one or more of these elements:

Program components can include:

  • Informational/educational campaigns using a variety of communication channels
  • Onsite activities such as screenings, health fairs, walking clubs and access to an onsite/near-site clinic
  • Value-based benefit design – may include reduced or waived employee costs for medications, supplies and/or physician office visits in return for active engagement in diabetes management program components, use of Centers of Excellence, or high quality narrow network providers, if offered
  • Health/lifestyle coaching, fitness memberships, nutrition counseling
  • Tools and resources for monitoring and tracking (e.g. blood sugar monitor, fitness tracker)
  • Stress management/mental health techniques and tools; can help with the psychosocial adjustment to a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis

Health Coaching

The value of health coaching warrants its own mention. Coaching outreach may include telephonic, text, email, face-to-face or a combination of these. The approach depends on your program parameters and the audience you’re trying to reach. If your organization has multiple locations and/or varied work schedules, health coaching via virtual platforms (phone, computer or mobile device) can help you to effectively deliver your program.

Face-to-face coaching with a certified diabetes educator is often considered best practice and can be very effective in a number of areas including medication adherence, blood sugar monitoring and encouraging and motivating lifestyle change. Mental health coaching can help those with diabetes who also suffer from depression. Click here to read more 

Digital Technology and Diabetes Care

Digital technology can be used as part of an overall population health strategy to support your efforts to better manage people with prediabetes and diabetes. Digital tools can help you address the challenges that come with diabetes management including employee engagement, behavior change, self-management and care collaboration.

This type of technology can include mobile devices (e.g. cell phones), wearable devices (e.g. Fitbits), applications (apps), social media and online games. These digital tools can be used to send text-based appointment reminders and to track and monitor everything from blood sugar to fitness activities and food intake. Ultimately, use of digital technology and tools can help you better tailor information and behavioral interventions.

Telemedicine is another example of digital technology that can be used as part of a diabetes management strategy, especially in areas that are rural or underserved by specialists like endocrinologists. Using videoconferencing, teleconsults connect patients with specialists for virtual visits. This type of technology can also be used with time-constrained employees.

Click on Digital Tools and Solutions for Diabetes Care to view a comprehensive guide to technology-based tools and resources designed to support you in your efforts to manage and prevent diabetes in your employee population.

How to Use Mobile Technology to Manage Diabetes

Emerging Approaches to Care

The Northeast Business Group on Health (sister coalition of MBGH) report, Transforming Diabetes Management: New Directions for Employers, introduces care approaches that go beyond traditional methods. You will find key links to their report embedded in this toolkit. To review the entire report, click here.

The following links are provided for more information on emerging approaches to care:

Care Collaboration

Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Onsite/Near Site Clinics

Pharmacist-Led Care