If you have been to a diabetes conference in the past few years, there’s a good chance that you have seen this slide as part of a presentation.
— DiabetesMine (@DiabetesMine) June 6, 2015
This was a slide I first put together a few years ago, to convey a “back of the envelope” calculation I had done that essentially amounted to the percentage of time that a person with diabetes spends in the company of a medical professional in the course of a year. My estimate had all along been 0.1%. Today, I took the time to validate this looking for hard data from CDC, the American Journal of Managed Care, and other reputable sources, to REALLY back this finding.
I am sad to report that I was wrong: the percentage is even lower!
So this is what I searched:
- Number of visits (to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments) with diabetes as primary diagnosis for 2009-10: 37.3 million – year 2009-10
- Number of Civilian, Noninstitutionalized Persons with Diagnosed Diabetes, United States for 2010: 20.8 million
- From 1993 through 2010, reported visit duration increased over time from 17.9 minutes to 20.3 minutes for primary care visits and from 19.0 minutes to 21.0 minutes for specialized visits. So, I am using an average: 20.7 minutes.
Now, the math for the year 2010:
- Minutes in a year = 24 x 60 x 365 = 525,600
- Minutes in a year x number of people with diabetes, PWD = 10,932,480,000,000 (10.9 trillion)
- Minutes in a year spent by PWD in visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments = 37.3 million x 20.7 minutes = 772,110,000
- Percentage of a year’s time spent by PWD in visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments = 0.00007062532929 = 0.007%!
So I have been GROSSLY overestimating the number all these years!
What does this mean?
99.993% of the time, a person with diabetes is self-managing their condition on their own. Think about it… most people would call that nearly 100% of the time.