Group Visits Improve Metabolic Control in Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-year follow-up

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OBJECTIVETo evaluate whether group visits, delivered as routine diabetes care and structured according to a systemic education approach, are more effective than individual consultations in improving metabolic control in non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSIn a randomized controlled clinical trial of 112 patients, 56 patients were allocated to groups of 9 or 10 individuals who participated in group consultations, and 56 patients (considered control subjects) underwent individual visits plus support education. All visits were scheduled every 3 months.RESULTSAfter 2 years, HbA1c levels were lower in patients seen in groups than in control subjects (P < 0.002). Levels of HDL cholesterol had increased in patients seen in groups but had not increased in control subjects (P = 0.045). BMI (P = 0.06) and fasting triglyceride level (P = 0.053) were lower. Patients participating in group visits had improved knowledge of diabetes (P < 0.001) and quality of life (P < 0.001) and experienced more appropriate health behaviors (P < 0.001). Physicians spent less time seeing 9-10 patients as a group rather than individually, but patients had longer interaction with health care providers.CONCLUSIONSGroup consultations may improve metabolic control in the medium term by inducing more appropriate health behaviors. They are feasible in everyday clinical practice without increasing working hours.

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