Aim: To investigate whether a comprehensive strategy involving both patients and professionals, with the introduction of a diabetes passport as a key component, improves diabetes care.
Methods: The first 150 consecutive patients who visited their internist for a diabetes check up at the internal medicine outpatient departments at each of nine Dutch general hospitals were included in this 1 year clustered, randomised, controlled trial. Health care professionals attended an educational meeting about the use and dissemination of the diabetes passport which is a patient held record. They also received aggregated feedback on baseline data and personal feedback. Educational meetings were also organised for patients. Patient files were used in conjunction with questionnaires to determine adherence rates. Data were analysed using multilevel regression analysis.
Results: Small but significant changes were found in mean HbA1c levels. In the intervention group, positive health changes for patients were found (-0.3%) when compared to those in the control group (+0.2%). Diastolic blood pressure improved slightly, but no changes were found in systolic blood pressure or cholesterol. Improvements were found with regard to levels of examination of patients' feet and in patient education.
Conclusions: Efforts to improve professional practice involving both professionals and patients led to small improvements in HbA1c and diastolic blood pressure levels. Further study is needed to establish whether a better structured health care delivery, operating in a more supportive environment can enhance these effects.