Objectives: To systematically review the effectiveness of primary care interventions on glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in minority ethnic groups with diabetes.
Research design and methods: We searched electronic databases, the Cochrane Library, and research registers to December 2006, using multiple search terms related to ethnicity and diabetes. We examined bibliographies of retrieved articles and corresponded with authors. We included randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, and cohort studies. Two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility and quality.
Results: Nine studies including 2565 patients met our inclusion criteria. Two main models of care were identified: (1) case management, with specialist diabetes nurses and community health workers and (2) the use of the services of link workers from minority ethnic groups to guide people with diabetes. Heterogeneity of the studies prevented us from carrying out a meta-analysis. Case management improved glycaemic control (reduction in HbA1c range -0.5% to -1.75%). Small but statistically significant reductions in other cardiovascular risk factors were reported with both models.
Conclusions: In minority ethnic groups with diabetes, case management improves glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk factors and link workers improve cardiovascular risk factor control. However, their relative effectiveness, cost, and sustainability of changes over time warrant further evaluation.