Pulse is a quarterly Gazette medical publication that highlights the survivors, volunteers and physicians who make our city a strong and healthy place to live.
The future of education, treatment and support for diabetics in southern Colorado looks bright, thanks to Kaiser Permanente Colorado. Leading the way are Dr. Maria Subang, MD, and Kaiser Permanente’s Diabetes Care Team.
Dr. Subang serves as an endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente Colorado Parkside Medical Offices, located at 215 Parkside Drive. While she sees patients for a variety of endocrine, or hormone-related, issues, from osteoporosis to thyroid cancer, about half of her caseload is made up of diabetic patients, many of whom she sees quite regularly. “I love what I do,” she said. “I get the chance to form a bond with my patients. I love following them and seeing them get better.”
Dr. Subang and her patients are supported by Kaiser Permanente’s Diabetes Care Team (DCT), a group of registered nurses and dietitians who serve the local diabetic population full time. Because the DCT is available via phone and e-mail, it can serve patients across the state around the clock. “It’s amazing to listen to them talking to their patients.” Dr. Subang said. “As a diabetic in southern Colorado, you never need to feel alone, you have your very own team taking care of you.” Kaiser Permanente also plans to debut a mobile ID card and application for some members that will allow them easier, personalized access to the DCT while on the go. The mobile app should debut by early summer. “It will be another tool in the arsenal for our members who need advice, support, or have questions about their diabetes and health,” Dr. Subang said.
Kaiser Permanente also offers monthly educational classes for local diabetics and their family members. “Many Kaiser Permanente patients are quite motivated to pursue their own path to health,” Dr. Subang said. “They want to help themselves, and that makes it so rewarding to work with them.”
Each class is led by a Certified Diabetes Educator and helps attendees feel confident taking charge of their diabetes and health. From learning how to read food labels to tips on managing insulin and exercise regimens, each class is informative and personal. “I’ve been very impressed with Kaiser Permanente’s patient education options,” Dr. Subang said. “We also encourage family members to attend, especially if they serve in a caregiving role.” For members who are unable to travel, webinars are available on KP.org.
In recent years, there has also been a greater push for research into expanding treatment options for diabetes treatment. “There are definitely more choices for diabetics now, including a glucose-based ‘smart drug,’” Dr. Subang said. “This is a huge help to me as a physician because not all of my patients are willing to do insulin, so it’s good to have options in helping people manage their health. More research means we’ll be able to offer our diabetic patients more options in the coming years and increase their quality of life.”