The care of diabetes patients is mostly undertaken by general practitioners. In order to achieve sufficient control of blood sugar levels and blood pressure in patients and thus to avoid complications and secondary diseases, a patient-centered disease management and support of patient self-management are essential. These functions can be partially delegated.
The DIANA study is an epidemiological physician-based prospective cohort study on new approaches for optimization of general practitioner care. The objectives were to investigate the current status of diabetes care as well as the consequences of a patient-centered treatment approach on the course of diabetes. Furthermore, the effectiveness of a supportive telephone counseling service over 12 months by trained medical practice personnel was investigated.
The DIANA study consists of a basic survey and an interventional study. A total of 38 general medical practices with 1,146 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were included. For the basic survey standardized questionnaires were completed by the patients and their physicians. Furthermore, blood samples were taken from patients for determination of HbA1c levels in a certified laboratory. Patients with HbA1c levels 〉 7.5 % in the basic survey were eligible for inclusion in the interventional study. In this subpopulation of 204 patients the effectiveness of an intervention with telephone support by trained personnel from the medical practices in the study was investigated. The patients who agreed to participate were randomized to either the intervention group or the control group. The control group received usual care.
Mean HbA1c was 6.9 % in this sample and thus within the target corridor of the new German clinical practice guidelines on type 2 diabetes of 6.5-7.5 %. Nevertheless, about one fifth of the patients' values were above the corridor and thus in a dissatisfactory zone. In addition, participating patients had considerable comorbidities, such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, cardiac insufficiency, and depression. Another problem was medication adherence among patients. Self-reported medication adherence was associated with poor glycemic control, especially in men. Young, employed and unmarried patients and those with depression symptoms were particularly at risk. The intervention had only limited effects. The primary outcome HbA1c decreased likewise in both groups. A decrease of systolic blood pressure was observed in the intervention group, but which was not sustained after the end of the intervention. It was only after the end of the intervention that health-related quality of life improved in the intervention group.
There is a large problem group of diabetes patients with an unsatisfactory metabolic situation. General practitioners should concentrate on these patients and be aware that younger, employed and single as well as depressive patients are particularly affected. A long-term accompaniment by trained personnel could be useful.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published