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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2017

Data collection of patients with diabetes in family medicine: a study in north-eastern Italy

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Alberto Vaona, Franco Del Zotti, Sandro Girotto, Claudio Marafetti, Giulio Rigon, Alessandro Marcon
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12913-017-2508-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Studies on data collection and quality of care in Italian family medicine are lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the completeness of data collection of patients with diabetes in a large sample of family physicians in the province of Verona, Veneto region, a benchmark for the Italian National Health System.


We extracted the data on all the patients with diabetes from the electronic health records of 270 family physicians in 2006 and 2009. We reported the percentage of patients with data recorded for 12 indicators of performance derived from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence diabetes guidelines. Secondarily, we assessed quality of care using the Q-score (the lower the score, the greater the risk of cardiovascular events).


Patients with diabetes were 18,507 in 2006 and 20,744 in 2009, and the percentage of patients registered as having diabetes was 4.9% and 5.4% of the total population, respectively (p < 0.001). Data collection improved for all the indicators between 2006 and 2009 but the performance was still low at the end of the study period: patients with no data recorded were 42% in 2006 and 32% in 2009, while patients with data recorded for ≥5 indicators were 9% in 2006 and 17% in 2009. The Q-score improved (mean ± SD, 20.7 ± 3.0 in 2006 vs 21.3 ± 3.6 in 2009, p < 0.001) but most patients were at increased risk of cardiovascular events in both years (Q-score ≤ 20).


We documented an improvement in data collection and quality of care for patients with diabetes during the study period. Nonetheless, data collection was still unsatisfactory in comparison with international benchmarks in 2009. Structural interventions in the organization of family medicine, which have not been implemented since the study period, should be prioritised in Italy.
Additional file 1: Map of the study area (Figure S1); review of reference guidelines on diabetes management available in 2006 (Table S1); distribution of the Q-score in 2006 and 2009 (Table S2). (DOC 165 kb)
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