Diabetes Education for PCPs Improves Disease Management

Patients from clinics with computer-based case study programs have better glucose control
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes patients from clinics where primary care physicians (PCPs) participate in a program of computer-based diabetes case studies improve glucose control better than patients from clinics where PCPs do not undergo the learning intervention, according to a study in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

JoAnn M. Sperl-Hillen, M.D., of the HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis, and colleagues randomized 11 Minnesota clinics with 41 consenting PCPs to receive either an educational intervention consisting of 12 simulated type 2 diabetes cases designed to remedy specific physician deficits, or no intervention. The researchers compared the two groups' patients for changes in A1C, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol at 12 months, and also compared costs.

The investigators found that patients with baseline A1C of at least 7 percent from clinics that had the learning program had significantly improved glycemic control after the intervention (intervention effect, −0.19 percent mean A1C and +6.7 percent in A1C below 7 percent goal achievement). Among patients who had a baseline A1C of 7 percent or greater, 29.2 percent from the program clinics and 22.5 percent from the control clinics had an A1C less than 7 percent at follow-up. However, the control clinic patients reduced LDL from baseline to follow-up more than the patients from the program clinics (intervention effect, −5.1 mg/dL). Costs totaled $71 less for each patient from the program clinics than from the control clinics (P = 0.63).

"A brief individualized case-based simulated learning intervention for PCPs led to modest but significant glucose control improvement in adults with type 2 diabetes without increasing costs," the authors write.

One study author has received support indirectly for multi-site drug trials from pharmaceutical companies, while another author owns pharmaceutical company stock.

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