An innovative approach pioneered by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Internal Medicine Clinic is improving health outcomes for patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

As part of the Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) initiative, Type 2 Diabetic patients receiving care at the HMC Internal Medicine Clinic meet once a month for six months (cycle), to discuss and learn about diabetic care and how the disease impacts their overall health. The initiative, which is a clinician-led support group, is designed to help patients better manage their blood sugar levels, and in turn their diabetes, by providing accurate information, adequate tools, and the support needed to live well with diabetes.

The initiative was introduced in 2016 to provide care to patients with Type 2 Diabetes. According to Dr Nasseer Masoodi, Vice Chair for Medicine and the Lead Physician for the programme, they created groups of 10 to 12 patients to meet monthly and discuss issues relevant to their condition, such as diet, exercise, medication management, safe fasting during Ramadan and everything else they felt were relevant. Interactive group discussions are facilitated by physicians, diabetes educators and dietitians, and usually last between one to two hours.

Dr Aisha Al Kubaisi, Consultant for Medicine at HMC, said support groups can reinforce proper self-care and offer important social support. She noted that individuals are often more able and willing, to manage chronic conditions when they have consistent contact with peers who can provide practical and emotional support.

We measure each participant’s blood sugar level at the start of each cycle, three months into the cycle, and when the cycle ends, so we are able to compare blood sugar levels at each stage of the cycle for any notable changes. We usually see a significant drop in blood sugar as the cycle progresses, highlighting the positive benefits of the initiative.’

To date, the results have been extremely positive. More than 35 patients have completed the programme, with a number of patients reporting a noticeable drop in their blood sugar levels and an overall improvement in their general health.

For more information about the SMA initiative, visit the HMC website at hamad.qa.  

** Cover image shows Dr Nasseer Masoodi with members of the SMA initiative team.