ABSTRACT: Managing Diabetes Mellitus: A Survey of Attitudes and Practices Among Family Physicians
Due to the increasing prevalence of diabetes and the shortage of endocrinologists, family physicians have an important role in diabetes management. The purpose of this study was to examine the sources of knowledge, attitudes and practices of family physicians regarding the management of type 2 diabetes. Attendees at continuous medical education (CME) programs in Israel were requested to respond anonymously to written questions about their sources of knowledge about diabetes, the methods of diabetes management they advise their patients, their knowledge of diabetes medication treatments, and their attitudes toward people with type 2 diabetes. Questionnaires were completed by 362 family physicians (79 % response rate). Of them, 329 (91 %) reported that they usually manage their patients’ diabetes care, including that of patients with concomitant risk factors. Their most common recommendations for diabetes control were: to increase physical activity, decrease total calorie intake, consult with a dietitian and undergo weight loss counseling. Almost all physicians (97 %) reported providing lifestyle change counseling. Sixty percent reported lacking knowledge about nutritional issues. Only 58 % answered correctly regarding the effect of the anti-diabetic drug, GLP1 analog. Board certified family physicians and their residents exhibited more knowledge about diabetes practice than did non-board certified family physicians. The great majority of family physicians surveyed usually manage their patients’ diabetes themselves, and do not refer them to diabetes specialists. The implementation of strategies that will enhance the competencies and confidence of family physicians in diabetes management are important for achieving successful treatment.