Enhancing Access to Diabetes Self-management Education in Primary Care

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this continuous quality improvement project was to improve access to diabetes self-management education (DSME) and to evaluate the impact on glycemic and weight control by translating an academic medical center's DSME program, accredited per the Education Recognition Program (ERP) of the American Diabetes Association, into a program offered at primary care clinics (PCCs).

Methods

Certified diabetes educators from the medical center trained PCC registered dietitian nutritionists, registered nurses, and social workers to provide DSME in their community-based clinic. Main outcomes of this retrospective, pretest/posttest, observational project were to evaluate enrollment in DSME classes and change in A1C and weight as patients underwent a combined intervention of diabetes education classes with or without consultation and support from a PCC registered dietitian nutritionist or registered nurse.

Results

PCC DSME was associated with increased enrollment in DSME classes and a significant reduction of A1C and weight at 3 and 6 months post-DSME. Greatest A1C and weight reductions were observed in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes. Reductions were also seen in patients with diabetes duration ≥10 years, participants taking insulin, and those with depression.

Conclusions

PCC DSME availability increased access to group diabetes education and resulted in reduced A1C and weight for participants. This model was successful in translating an established academic accredited DSME-ERP into a PCC. Results have implications for increasing access to diabetes education programs and improving diabetes control for patients not located near major hospital-based DSME programs.

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