Rural low-income African American patients with diabetes have traditionally poorer clinical outcomes and limited access to state-of-the-art diabetes care. We determined the effectiveness of a redesigned primary care model on patients’ glycemic, blood pressure, and lipid level control.
In 3 purposively selected, rural, fee-for-service, primary care practices, African American patients with type 2 diabetes received point-of-care education, coaching, and medication intensification from a diabetes care management team made up of a nurse, pharmacist, and dietitian. In 5 randomly selected control practices matched for practice and patient characteristics, African American patients received usual care. Using univariate and multivariate adjusted models, we evaluated the effects of the intervention on intermediate (median 18 months) and long-term (median 36 months) changes in glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c) levels, blood pressure, and lipid levels, as well as the proportion of patients meeting target values.
Among 727 randomly selected rural African American diabetic patients (368 intervention, 359 control), intervention patients had a significantly greater reduction in mean hemoglobin A1c levels at intermediate (−0.5 % vs −0.2%; P <.05) and long-term (−0.5% vs −0.10%; P <.005) follow-up in univariate and multivariate models. The proportion of patients achieving a hemoglobin A1c level of less than 7.5% (68% vs 59%, P <.01) and/or a systolic blood pressure of less than 140 mm Hg (69% vs 57%, P <.01) was also significantly greater in intervention practices in multivariate models.
Redesigning care strategies in rural fee-for-service primary care practices for African American patients with established diabetes results in significantly improved glycemic control relative to usual care.