The burden of treatment in people living with type 2 diabetes: A qualitative study of patients and their primary care clinicians

Pilar Espinoza, Camila A. Varela, Ivonne E. Vargas, Galo Ortega, Paulo A. Silva, Kasey B. Boehmer, Victor M. Montori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The burden of treatment can overwhelm people living with type 2 diabetes and lead to poor treatment fidelity and outcomes. Chronic care programs must consider and mitigate the burden of treatment while supporting patients in achieving their goals. Objective To explore what patients with type 2 diabetes and their health providers consider are the workload and the resources they must mobilize, i.e., their capacity, to shoulder it. Methods We conducted focus groups comprised of 30 patients and 32 clinicians from three community health centers in Chile implementing the Chronic Care Model to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic content analysis techniques illuminated by the Minimally Disruptive Medicine framework. Findings Gaining access to and working with their clinicians, implementing complex medication regimens, and changing lifestyles burdened patients. To deal with the distress of the diagnosis, difficulties achieving disease control, and fear of complications, patients drew capacity from their family (mostly men), social environment (mostly women), lay expertise, and spirituality. Clinicians found that administrative tasks, limited formulary, and protocol rigidity hindered their ability to modify care plans to reduce patient workload and support their capacity. Conclusions Chronic primary care programs burden patients living with type 2 diabetes while hindering clinicians’ ability to reduce treatment workloads or support patient capacity. A collaborative approach toward Minimally Disruptive Medicine may result in treatments that fit the lives and loves of patients and improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0241485
JournalPloS one
Issue number10 October
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'The burden of treatment in people living with type 2 diabetes: A qualitative study of patients and their primary care clinicians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this