The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All authors have made substantial contributions to conception and design, involved in drafting the manuscript, read and approved the final manuscript. MS has substantial contribution to data analysis.
In 1995 Clalit Health Services introduced a structured follow-up schedule, by primary care nurses, of diabetic patients. This was supplementary care, given in addition to the family physician’s follow-up care. This article aims to describe the performance of diabetes follow-up and diabetes control in patients with additional structured nursing follow-up care, compared to those patients followed only by their family physician.
We randomly selected 2,024 type 2 diabetic subjects aged 40–76 years. For each calendar year, from 2005–2007, patients who were “under physician follow-up only” were compared to those who received additional structured nursing follow-up care.
Complete diabetes follow-up parameters including: HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, microalbumin, blood pressure measurements and fundus examination.
The average age of study participants was 60.7 years, 52% were females and 38% were from low socioeconomic status (SES).
In 2005, 39.5% of the diabetic patients received structured nursing follow-up, and the comparable figures for 2006 and 2007 were 42.1% 49.6%, respectively. The intervention subjects tended to be older, from lower SES, suffered from more chronic diseases and visited their family physician more frequently than the control patients. Patients in the study group were more likely to perform a complete diabetes follow-up plan: 52.8% vs. 21.5% (2005; p < 0.001) 55.5% vs. 30.3% (2006; p < 0.001), 52.3% vs. 35.7% (2007; p < 0.001). LDL cholesterol levels were lower in the study group only in 2005: 103.7 vs. 110.0 p < 0.001.
Subjects with supplementary structured nursing follow-up care were more likely to perform complete diabetes follow-up protocol. Our results reinforce the importance of teamwork in diabetic care. Further study is required to identify strategies for channeling the use of the limited resources to the patients who stand to benefit the most.