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Ask the Expert with Diabetes Clinical Director Maria Wagner BSN, RN, CDCES

We sat down with Orthus Health Diabetes Clinical Director Maria Wagner to learn more about the importance of diabetes management and the large role it plays in the overall wellness of an individual.

Orthus Health Diabetes Clinical Director Maria Wagner

1. Why should diabetes management and wellness be integrated?

Diabetes management and wellness work really well together. Essentially, diabetes management is wellness. If an individual incorporates wellness into their everyday life, they have better control over their diabetes for a longer period of time.

Think of a “fad diet”. You work really hard following a strict meal plan (sometimes very unbalanced) and you see results quick, but in 2 months, the diet gets really boring and you shift back to your previous habits. The weight you lost returns, and you feel defeated. This is not considered wellness. When an individual truly integrates wellness with diabetes care, they get long-term, quality


Wellness is not a diet. A large part is education - learning about how foods affect your body type and how they affect your blood sugars. It is finding an exercise that is good for your body, and that you can enjoy. Wellness leads to an individual feeling empowered, because they know that they have learned the necessary skills to overcome diabetes complications. They are living a life of wellness.

Orthus Health for Diabetes helps to make these quality changes permanent. Diabetes is a chronic condition, and it cannot be fixed overnight. It requires a personal commitment, which takes a lot of support and motivation. Orthus Health for Diabetes not only provides all the necessary educational materials to properly care for diabetes, but it provides the motivation and support that is vital to retaining good control.

2. How can members keep their provider at the forefront of diabetic care in a pandemic?

People living with diabetes may feel that their routine care has been put on hold during this pandemic. The world’s priorities have shifted quickly, and their chronic condition may feel like no match to COVID-19. Because diabetes often makes individuals more susceptible to contracting infections, especially if under poor control, both providers and members should make diabetes care and overall health a priority.

Virtual visits and telehealth have become vital during these times of social distancing. When an individual falls behind in their diabetes care (i.e not checking blood sugar levels, forgetting to count carbohydrates, or missing insulin doses or oral medications) there is a greater chance that complications can arise, making it difficult for their body to fight off an infection or illness when their blood sugar is out of control.

The Orthus Health wellness platform, including our diabetes management solution, provides the support needed in-between regular, routine physician visits. Individuals living with diabetes learn so much from their doctors and diabetes care and education specialists, but only see them a few times a year, if that. Orthus Health makes it easy to continue a healthy lifestyle outside of routine follow-up visits. Our Orthus Health Coaches for diabetes are personal advocates for each member!

3. Why is managing gaps in care important to managing healthcare costs for members with chronic disease?

Without a doubt, diabetes is one of the most expensive health burdens. Because it is considered a chronic condition, individuals with diabetes can expect to pay thousands of dollars annually to manage their care. When blood sugars spiral out of control, complications can arise that escalate these costs - it can feel like a snowball effect!

Neglecting diabetes care in-between follow-up visits makes it easy to lose control. Adding a management program like Orthus Health for Diabetes helps to fill those gaps in care, to ensure the member stays on track with their regimen and reaches their goals. Trips to the endocrinologist go a lot smoother when the individual has good news to bring every time.

Think about comparing the work of a continuous glucose monitor against finger stick blood sugar checks. A continuous glucose monitor gives you a reading every five minutes. That’s 288 readings a day. A person that checks their blood sugar by finger sticks may only check 2-3 times a day. Let’s say their reading is 110 before breakfast and 119 before bedtime. These seem great, BUT the continuous glucose monitor would have shown them that they actually spiked above 200 after breakfast, came back down before dinner, and went low overnight.

Just as it is helpful to have more information between finger sticks, it is just as helpful to have more information, and support, in-between routine care doctor visits. Orthus Health for Diabetes is here to support and enhance the quality of life for each member, as well as give them the confidence they need to achieve real results over time.

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