It’s been over twenty years since clinical inertia was coined a term, and since that time, experts have debated on how to define it, and where and when it exists across the treatment paradigm. Every year, scores of information cross HCP’s desks on clinical inertia, but when it comes to your patients, how do you determine whether your decisions to delay treatment intensification are clinical inertia or “appropriate inaction?”
And what about obesity? Individualizing treatment targets for patients with diabetes requires a comprehensive approach to minimize associated morbidity and mortality. Because most patients with T2DM are overweight or obese, effective glucose control and weight loss are needed to reduce cardiovascular risk factors and other complications of T2DM. However, misconceptions about the causes and mechanisms of obesity, and the false assumption that patients can manage their weight with simple behavioral modifications, contribute to ongoing clinical inertia in patients with diabetes.
Interestingly, while most HCPs can identify clinical inertia in their peers, they fail to recognize it in themselves and typically underestimate the number of patients in their care who have failed to meet their therapeutic targets. Whether they attribute it to the patient, the lack of time, or an absence of guidance on how to effectively individualize treatment, the problem persists.
To better support HCPs in their efforts, Donna Ryan, MD, professor emerita at Pennington Biomedical and Robert Kushner, MD, DABOM Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning (ACHL), have developed a clinical assessment tool to provide HCPs with a “report card” on how effective they are in achieving short- and long-term therapeutic goals for their patients along with personalized recommendations on how to address inertia through weight-centric treatment strategies.
Donna Ryan is professor emerita at Pennington Biomedical in Baton Rouge, LA, USA, where she oversaw clinical research for 25 years. Her research interests included lifestyle intervention and diet for weight loss, and she was an investigator on NIH studies, including POUNDS Lost, Look AHEAD, DPP, and DASH.
Robert Kushner is a professor of medicine and medicine education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine in Chicago, IL, USA. Dr. Kushner is past president of The Obesity Society (TOS), the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists (ABPNS), and a founder and past chair of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM).
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