Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention to improve the clinical decision making of general practitioners (GPs) for patients with diabetes. To identify practice characteristics which predict success.
Methods: Cluster randomized controlled trial with 124 practices and 185 GPs in The Netherlands. The intervention group received feedback reports and support from a facilitator; the control group received no special attention. Outcome measures were the compliance rates with evidence-based recommendations pertaining to discussion of body weight control, discussion of problems with medication, blood pressure measurement, foot examination, eye examination, initiating anti-diabetic medication or increasing the dosage in cases of uncontrolled blood glucose, and scheduling a follow-up appointment.
Results: The GPs reported on their clinical decision making in 1410 consultations with Type 2 diabetic patients at baseline and 1449 consultations after the intervention period. The intervention resulted in statistically significant improvement for two of the seven outcome measures: foot examination (odds ratio 1.68; 95% confidence interval 1.19-2.39) and eye examination (1.52; 1.07-2.16). Discussion of problems with medication showed a near significant trend towards increased benefit for the intervention group (1.52; 0.99-2.32). Practice characteristics were not found to be related to the success of the intervention.
Conclusions: Feedback reports with support from facilitators appear to increase rates of foot examination and eye examination in general practice. Alternative interventions should be explored to improve the pursuit of metabolic control by GPs.