Diabetes has become increasingly common in the United States and the world, according to background information in the article. Elevated levels of hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood glucose levels and control over two to three months), blood pressure (BP), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are associated with an increase in the risk of complications. Reducing the levels decreases those risks, but the article notes that most patients with diabetes do not have these levels under control. Currently, treatment guidelines do not include recommendations for how frequently physicians should see patients with diabetes, although recommended intervals for testing and adjustments to medication may range from every two to three days for insulin to every three months for hemoglobin A1c. “However,” the authors write, “benefits of more frequent provider encounters may not be limited to treatment intensification and testing.”
Fritha Morrison, M.P.H., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to determine whether more frequent encounters with a physician help patients improve control of diabetes. The authors analyzed data from 26,496 adult patients with diabetes and elevated hemoglobin A1c, BP and/or LDL-C levels who visited primary care physicians affiliated with two Boston hospitals for at least two years between January 2000 and January 2009. Treatment goals at the beginning of the study were hemoglobin A1c of less than 7 percent, BP of less than 130/85 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) and LDL-C of less than 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). The researchers assessed the relationship between the frequency of clinician encounters (defined as notes in the medical record) and time to control of hemoglobin A1c, BP and LDL-C.
Article source: http://www.medindia.net/news/Frequent-Patient-Provider-Encounters-Lead-to-Faster-Diabetes-Control-91158-1.htm