Written by: Jon Vredenburg, MBA, CDE, CSSD, RD, LD/N

This August, the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) announced its plan to reposition the title of Diabetes Educator to that of Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.[1] The decision for this name change was made after lengthy consultation with a variety of stakeholder groups, including providers, payers, and industry professionals.

It was determined that the title of Educator does not really capture the entirety of a typical Diabetes Educator’s workday. An “educator” is often associated with teaching classes or providing individual instruction and does not characterize the full range of skills that the specialty provides. In today’s medical practices, educators are tasked with a wide array of clinical and self-management duties with regards to medication, activity, nutrition, and glycemic monitoring for persons with diabetes.

Given the close association between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the new title can also promote the Diabetes Educator’s expertise in managing cardiometabolic risk factors such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and inflammation. The new title, Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, will therefore be positioned to improve the lives of individuals with diabetes and prediabetes, in addition to cardiometabolic conditions.

The name change is also emblematic of the overall industry shift from a fee-for-service model to one where quality and outcomes are prioritized. Instead of just providing classes and instruction, Diabetes Care and Education Specialists will also be evaluated on how well they can improve the quality of life and clinical outcomes of those they serve. There is ample opportunity to serve too, since less than 5% of Medicare patients and 7% of privately insured patients receive the diabetes self-management education and support that is available to them.[2]

A full rollout of the new title is being planned for January 2020. However, it will not impact how the credential of Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is used. The title CDE is managed by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators and is for those who have qualified for and passed the certification exam.

To support Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, The Wellness Network offers a Diabetes Solution that combines patient education with engagement platforms. This solution connects clinicians and patients with the tools they need to manage their condition, and improve overall health outcomes.


References

[1] A Statement from the American Association of Diabetes Educators – A New Title for the Specialty

[2] Diabetes Self-Management Education and Training Among Privately Insured Persons with Newly Diagnosed Diabetes — United States, 2011–2012