Background: Numerous primary care innovations emphasize patient-centered processes of care. Within the context of these innovations, greater understanding is needed of the relationship between improvements in clinical endpoints and patient-centered outcomes. To address this gap, we evaluated the association between glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and diabetes-specific quality of life among patients completing diabetes self-management programs.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study nested within a randomized comparative effectiveness trial of diabetes self-management interventions in 75 diabetic patients. Multiple linear regression models were developed to examine the relationship between change in HbA1c from baseline to one-year follow-up and Diabetes-39 (a diabetes-specific quality of life measure) at one year.
Results: HbA1c levels improved for the overall cohort from baseline to one-year follow-up (t (74) = 3.09, p = .0029). One-year follow up HbA1c was correlated with worse overall quality of life (r = 0.33, p = 0.004). Improvements in HbA1c from baseline to one-year follow-up were associated with greater D-39 diabetes control (β = 0.23, p = .04) and D-39 sexual functioning (β = 0.25, p = .03) quality of life subscales.
Conclusions: Improvements in HbA1c among participants completing a diabetes self-management program were associated with better diabetes-specific quality of life. Innovations in primary care that engage patients in self-management and improve clinical biomarkers, such as HbA1c, may also be associated with better quality of life, a key outcome from the patient perspective.