Objective: To test trial design issues related to measuring the effectiveness of a peer telephone intervention to enhance self-efficacy in type 2 diabetes; evaluate the impact on self-efficacy and clinical outcome; and describe patient and peer experience.
Methods: Eligible patients had raised HbA1c (initial threshold >8%, reduced to >7.4% mid-way through trial). Patients were recruited from 40 general practices and randomised (40:40:20 ratio) to receive routine care alone or, in addition, motivational telephone support from a peer supporter or a diabetes specialist nurse (9 peers and 12 DSNs) for a period of up to 6 months. The primary outcome measure was self-efficacy score, and secondary outcome measures included HbA1c. Patient and telecare supporter satisfaction and experience were evaluated.
Results: In all, 231 patients participated. At 6 months there were no statistically significant differences in self-efficacy scores (p=0.68), HbA1c (p=0.87) or other secondary outcome measures. There was evidence of a high level of acceptability, but peer telecare support was less highly valued than that from a DSN. Some patients stated that they would have valued more information and advice.
Conclusions: Further consideration needs to be given to the targeting of the telecare peer support, its intensity, the training and ongoing supervision of peer supporters, and the extent to which information and advice should be incorporated.
Practice implications: While some patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes value peer telephone support, this approach appears not to suit all patients. Further intervention development and evaluation is required before widespread adoption can be recommended.