The status of glycemic control: A cross-sectional study of outpatients with type 2 diabetes mellitus across primary, secondary, and tertiary hospitals in the Jiangsu province of China

Clin Ther. 2010 May;32(5):973-83. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2010.05.002.


Objectives: The aims of the study were to determine the following: the status of glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) at primary, secondary, and tertiary hospitals in the Jiangsu province of China; and the factors associated with achieving glycemic targets.

Methods: This study, in which patients were enrolled from July 20 to 31, 2009, at 56 diabetes centers, used a multiple-stage, stratified sampling method to select a representative sample of the population with DM in Jiangsu. The sampling process was stratified by geographic and demographic regions, and by the outpatient numbers in the hospitals. A primary hospital was defined as a community medical institution that provided primary health services; a secondary hospital was a local medical institution that provided comprehensive health services; and a tertiary hospital was a regional medical institution that provided comprehensive and specialist health services. In primary hospitals, patients with DM were treated by general physicians; at secondary and tertiary hospitals, they were seen by specialists. Also, primary and tertiary hospitals treated patients in cities, whereas secondary hospitals treated patients from towns or rural areas. Patients with a medical history of type 2 DM for >6 months and registration at each diabetes center for > or = 6 months, and who were residents of Jiangsu province, were recruited. During the patient enrollment visit, information about DM complications and comorbidities, as well as DM management, was obtained by retrospectively reviewing medical records; basic patient data (eg, date of birth, sex, weight, height) were obtained by patient interview. Blood samples were collected for assessment of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) at a central laboratory.

Results: Of 3046 sampled subjects, the analysis was performed in 2966 subjects with complete data. The mean (SD) HbA1c value for analyzed patients was 7.2% (1.6%). The proportion of patients with tight glycemic control was 40.2% (1193/2966) when a threshold of HbA1c <6.5% was used, and 56.1% (1665/2966) when a threshold of HbA1c <7.0% was used. Compared with patients who had inadequate glycemic control, those with tight control were younger (P < 0.001), had shorter duration of DM (P < 0.001), had lower body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.005 for HbA1c <6.5% and P = 0.01 for HbA1c <7.0%), had more education (P < 0.001) and income (P = 0.003 for HbA1c <6.5% and P = 0.008 for HbA1c <7.0%), were more likely to monitor their glucose (P = NS for HbA1c <6.5% and P = 0.043 for HbA1c <7.0%) and attend DM education (P = 0.027 for HbA1c <6.5% and P = 0.002 for HbA1c <7.0%) at least once a month, and were more likely to receive oral antidiabetic drugs (OADs) (P < 0.001). Age, BMI, and DM duration did not differ significantly between hospital types. Compared with primary (36.2%) and secondary hospitals (36.5%), tertiary hospitals (42.2%) had more patients with HbA1c <6.5% (P = 0.043); tertiary hospitals also had more patients with once-monthly glucose self-monitoring (P = 0.001), patients with higher income (P < 0.001) and education (P < 0.001), and those who were more likely to use > or = 2 OADs or insulin with OADs (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The overall status of glycemic control was unsatisfactory during the study period, although patients at tertiary hospitals appeared to have better control than those at primary or secondary hospitals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human