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Summary

There is evidence that a team approach can reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes, improve diabetes management, and lower the risk for chronic complications. This evidence supports an opportunity for health care professionals and organization leaders to help improve the health of people with diabetes. At the same time, it is important that studies of team interventions involving the skills of numerous health care professionals continue to elucidate effective ways to implement team care that improve patients’ well-being and to assess the costs involved.

The commitment of an organization’s leadership is essential for a team to provide comprehensive, lifetime management for patients with diabetes. Team care requires a collaborative, interactive, multi-skilled approach that maximizes the use of many different health professionals as educators, care coordinators, and providers of services to help patients achieve the best health outcomes possible. Community health workers, innovative interactions via telehealth technology, and alternative ways to deliver care such as group visits all contribute to the practice of team care. When patients participate as decision-making partners in care, improved diabetes control can be achieved. This improvement in turn can lead to greater patient satisfaction with care, better quality of life, improved health outcomes, and lower health care costs. Team care is likely to play a major role in future health care systems designed to provide comprehensive lifetime prevention and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

February 2013​​​​​​​​​