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Survey reveals healthcare professionals believe greater collaboration is needed to improve patient outcomes in diabetes care

  • More than 80 percent of HCPs wish they had the time to more closely track patients who are seeing multiple providers
  • 3 in 5 specialists agree they often see patients that are referred to them without receiving information on their condition prior to the visit

Approximately 9 in 10 specialists agree that people with type 2 diabetes whose healthcare professionals (HCPs) collaborate tend to have better outcomes than those whose HCPs do not, while the top barrier to more collaboration among specialists is lack of time. This barrier is prevalent across HCP specialties with more than 80 percent of endocrinologists, cardiologists and nephrologists wishing they had the time to more closely track patients when they see multiple providers. The findings are from a survey of 1,000 U.S. healthcare professionals (i.e., primary care physicians, cardiologists, endocrinologists, nephrologists and nurse practitioners), conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), as part of the Unleashing the Truth About Diabetes and Heart Disease® campaign, which aims to increase awareness of the role of specialists in the treatment of diabetes and related chronic conditions and promote multidisciplinary collaboration.

"Diabetes is a complex condition, and each specialty should be prioritizing their patients' overall health and developing treatment plans in collaboration with other specialists without worrying of overstepping," said Javed Butler, M.D., Chairman, Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi. "When our specialties collaborate, we give our patients the best chance of success – which is highlighted in our professional society guidelines, including those from the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology."

When it comes to treating people who have type 2 diabetes, approximately 2 in 5 healthcare professionals say they would like to collaborate more often with other professionals. The majority (80% of nurse practitioners, 79% of nephrologists, 73% of endocrinologists, 69% of primary care physicians and 63% of cardiologists) agree they would call another specialist to help treat these patients if they had the resources.

To facilitate improved collaboration and saving time among healthcare professionals, Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly have created a downloadable checklist that provides tips and helpful reminders on how to make multidisciplinary care a reality among specialty groups, which is available on This checklist was informed by insights from members of a multidisciplinary panel of experts featured in the Unleashing the Truth video series: Javed Butler, M.D., Keith C. Ferdinand, M.D., Javier Morales, M.D., FACP, FACE, Kim Newlin, R.N., CNS, ANP-C, Susanne B. Nicholas, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Rachel Pessah-Pollack, M.D., FACE and Jonathan D. Rich, M.D.

The greatest benefit of collaborative care for people with type 2 diabetes most commonly reported by healthcare professionals (90% of nurse practitioners, 80% of primary care physicians, 78% of cardiologists, 77% of nephrologists and 74% of endocrinologists) is higher quality patient care. Yet 3 in 5 specialists (76% of endocrinologists, 67% of cardiologists and 60% of nephrologists) agree they often see patients that are referred to them without receiving information on their condition prior to the visit. To help drive collaboration and stay informed on their patient's status, the majority called for information-sharing through connected record systems, and additional resources such as easy access to digestible professional guidelines may be helpful as well. Guidelines from national professional organizations, including those from the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology, are among the professional society guidelines that specialists are most commonly familiar with. Additionally, these guidelines reinforce the importance of collaboration among HCPs to improve outcomes in their patients with type 2 diabetes.

"This survey reinforces the need to promote multidisciplinary collaboration to improve patient outcomes so that it becomes endemic in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and its associated cardio-renal-metabolic conditions," said Sandy Sommer, senior vice president, Cardio-Metabolic Franchise, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Type 2 diabetes increases the risk for interconnected disorders that affect the heart, kidneys and endocrine system, which account for up to 20 million deaths worldwide. Our companies have a long-standing commitment to people with and without diabetes, as well as supporting education for healthcare professionals, which is a key goal of Unleashing the Truth About Diabetes and Heart Disease."

The vast majority of healthcare professionals (90% of nurse practitioners, 86% of primary care physicians, 86% of cardiologists, 86% of nephrologists and 85% of endocrinologists) agree that it is the responsibility of all specialists involved in the treatment of type 2 diabetes to prescribe the best treatments available regardless of specialty area. Yet HCP confidence in prescribing diabetes medications, such as an SGLT2 inhibitor or GLP-1 receptor agonist, varies by specialty and specific therapy class. Although endocrinologists (99% SGLT2 inhibitors, 99% GLP-1 receptor agonists) and PCPs (93% SGLT2 inhibitors, 91% GLP-1 receptor agonists) report being confident prescribing these classes of medication, around 20-40 percent of nephrologists and cardiologists say they are hesitant to prescribe them, since they are outside their primary area of expertise.

"The Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly Diabetes Alliance is committed to delivering the best treatment options for people with type 2 diabetes," said Matt Caffrey, senior director of U.S. Diabetes/CV Marketing, Lilly Diabetes. "The results of this survey show there is an opportunity to improve the way healthcare professionals collaborate, and we hope education about the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration will encourage healthcare professionals to take action."

About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly between June 11 and July 2, 2020. The survey included 1,000 U.S. healthcare professionals who specialize in cardiology (n=200), endocrinology (n=200), nephrology (n=200), family medicine/general practice/primary care internal medicine (n=200) or who are nurse practitioners (n=200), are duly licensed in the state where they practice, and see at least 5 patients each month diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, of which at least 15% are managing cardiovascular disease. The survey asked healthcare professionals about their current collaborative care practices and looked to identify barriers in these practices in order to improve the treatment of type 2 diabetes and its associated conditions. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body either does not properly produce, or use, the hormone insulin. More than 463 million people worldwide have diabetes, of which 232 million are estimated to be undiagnosed. By 2045, the number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 700 million people worldwide. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

Due to the complications associated with diabetes, such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure and obesity, cardiovascular disease is a major complication and the leading cause of death associated with diabetes. One in two people with type 2 diabetes worldwide die from a cardiovascular event.

About Cardio-Renal-Metabolic Conditions
Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly are driven to transform care for people with cardio-renal-metabolic conditions, a group of interconnected disorders that affect more than one billion people worldwide and are a leading cause of death.

The cardiovascular, renal and metabolic systems are interconnected, and share many of the same risk factors and pathological pathways along the disease continuum. Dysfunction in one system may accelerate the onset of others, resulting in progression of interconnected diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and kidney disease, which in turn leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular death. Conversely, improving the health of one system can lead to positive effects throughout the others.

Through our research and treatments, our goal is to support people's health, restoring the harmony between the interconnected cardio-renal-metabolic systems and reducing their risk of serious complications. As part of our commitment to those whose health is jeopardized by cardio-renal-metabolic conditions, we will continue embracing a multidisciplinary approach towards care and focusing our resources on filling treatment gaps.

Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company
In January 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company announced an alliance that centers on compounds representing several of the largest diabetes treatment classes. Depending on geographies, the companies either co-promote or separately promote the respective molecules each contributing to the alliance. The alliance leverages the strengths of two of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies to focus on patient needs. By joining forces, the companies demonstrate their commitment, not only to the care of people with diabetes, but also to investigating the potential to address areas of unmet medical need.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is independent and family-owned. We have the freedom to pursue our long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where we can do the most good.

As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. In 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around $21.3 billion (19 billion euros). Our significant investment of over $3.9 billion (3.5 billion euros) in R&D drives innovation, enabling the next generation of medicines that save lives and improve quality of life.

We realize more scientific opportunities by embracing the power of partnership and diversity of experts across the life-science community. By working together, we accelerate the delivery of the next medical breakthrough that will transform the lives of patients now, and in generations to come.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation and is part of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.  In addition, there are Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in Duluth, GA and Boehringer Ingelheim Fremont, Inc. in Fremont, CA.

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and strengthening our communities. Please visit to learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

For more information, please visit, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS.

About Lilly Diabetes
Lilly has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when we introduced the world's first commercial insulin. Today we are building upon this heritage by working to meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes and those who care for them. Through research, collaboration and quality manufacturing we strive to make life better for people affected by diabetes and related conditions. We work to deliver breakthrough outcomes through innovative solutions—from medicines and technologies to support programs and more. For the latest updates, visit or follow us on Twitter: @LillyDiabetes and Facebook: LillyDiabetesUS.

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at and

Unleashing the Truth About Diabetes and Heart Disease® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim.

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Last Updated: 01-Apr-2021