On average, these patients are delaying treatment by two years, the researchers reported. The team’s work was published in the journal of Diabetic Medicine.
“Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon, patients being reluctant to start insulin therapy when it’s recommended,” principal investigator Dr. Alexander Turchin said in prepared remarks. “Many clinicians have encountered this phenomenon, but until our study it was not known just how prevalent delays in insulin initiation are. As physicians, we need to make sure that these patients are making fully informed decisions and that we understand their perspective to ensure they are treated effectively.”
The researchers used a computer program to analyze electronic physician notes of patients at Brigham & Women’s Hospital from 2000 to 2014, identifying patients with Type II diabetes who initially declined insulin therapy.
The analysis included 3,295 patients and found that nearly one-third of them declined to initiate insulin therapy when it was recommended to them by a doctor. People who declined at first and later accepted the recommendation, on average, began treatment more than two years later, the team reported.