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The challenge facing a cancer organization or a government agency that is faced with a new cancer case is learning about diabetes. Oncologists and the like are faced with educating patients about the disease, but the challenge comes from educating the community and health care providers.

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases worldwide. The U.S. spends billions of dollars a year on treatment of diabetes, yet one in every seven Americans is living with diabetes. This is a very challenging problem, but the challenges are not insurmountable.

First, a health-care team must be developed, one that educates all levels of care team members. For example, if a cancer patient needs to be on a heart transplant list, a health care team that includes both a nutritionist and a physician must be developed.

Second, the cancer organization and the health care agency must find ways to incorporate diabetes into their regular and ongoing cancer outreach programs. By working with diabetes organizations, the cancer organization can effectively share knowledge with them, as well as collaborate on creating a clear strategy for diabetes information.

Third, the cancer organization must work to become more familiar with the latest advances in health IT adoption. New technology has allowed health information systems to expand the reach of medical knowledge and aid with cancer care. Innovations in information technology, such as automatic health reports and online portals, have vastly improved the impact of these systems.

There are also new health care technologies and business models that are emerging and provide easier access to health information. The cancer organizations need to become familiar with these changes in the healthcare industry so they can share information with their employees.

Fourth, cancer agencies must expand their participation in public forums and conferences that are focused on health information systems. Through these events, they can interact with healthcare professionals in a meaningful way and can open their minds to innovative methods of promoting health information. These events can also be valuable for sharing information about diabetes.

Lastly, the cancer organizations and the current health care providers should become familiar with one another. Cancer treatment specialists should realize that their work can have a positive impact on health information technology initiatives, and that there are ways to work together.

Education is a key to success. If the cancer organization and the health care agency are already doing the work, the collaboration can help in many ways. The cancer organizations should collaborate with the community in the effort to educate people about diabetes, not only to help the community, but also to have an advantage in these new ways of organizing the disease.

Health information technology will grow significantly in the coming years, as medical research continues to transform how cancer and diabetes are treated. By partnering with the cancer organizations and the health care providers, the cancer organizations can help accelerate the development of health information technology.

Diabetes is a growing concern. The cancer organization and the health care organizations must work together to find the best ways to educate the community and the health care providers about diabetes. With health IT adoption on the rise, this issue becomes even more pressing.