Nurse Case Management To Improve Glycemic Control in Diabetic Patients in a Health Maintenance Organization: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

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Control of hyperglycemia delays or prevents complications of diabetes, but many persons with diabetes do not achieve optimal control.


To compare diabetes control in patients receiving nurse case management and patients receiving usual care.


Randomized, controlled trial.


Primary care clinics in a group-model health maintenance organization (HMO).


17 patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and 121 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.


The nurse case manager followed written management algorithms under the direction of a family physician and an endocrinologist. Changes in therapy were communicated to primary care physicians. All patients received ongoing care through their primary care physicians.


The primary outcome, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) value, was measured at baseline and at 12 months. Fasting blood glucose levels, medication type and dose, body weight, blood pressure, lipid levels, patient-perceived health status, episodes of severe hypoglycemia, and emergency department and hospital admissions were also assessed.


72% of patients completed follow-up. Patients in the nurse case management group had mean decreases of 1.7 percentage points in HbA1c values and 43 mg/dL (2.38 mmol/L) in fasting glucose levels; patients in the usual care group had decreases of 0.6 percentage points in HbA1c values and 15 mg/dL (0.83 mmol/L) in fasting glucose levels (P < 0.01). Self-reported health status improved in the nurse case management group (P = 0.02). The nurse case management intervention was not associated with statistically significant changes in medication type or dose, body weight, blood pressure, or lipids or with adverse events.


A nurse case manager with considerable management responsibility can, in association with primary care physicians and an endocrinologist, help improve glycemic control in diabetic patients in a group-model HMO.


This paper is also available at http//

Ann Intern Med.1998;129:605-612.

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