Who can provide diabetes self-management support in primary care? Findings from a randomized controlled trial

Diabetes Educ. Sep-Oct 2013;39(5):705-13. doi: 10.1177/0145721713492570. Epub 2013 Jun 19.


Purpose: The purpose of this comparative effectiveness study is to compare diabetes self-management support (DSMS) approaches and determine who can be most effective in helping patients maintain/improve clinical outcomes, self-care behaviors, distress, and satisfaction following diabetes self-management education (DSME) delivered in primary care.

Methods: After receiving DSME, 141 participants were randomized to receive DSMS delivered by a trained supporter: educator, peer, practice staff, or usual education during a 6-month follow-up period. DSMS groups were compared to determine which supporter helped participants to maintain/improve A1C, blood pressure, lipids, weight, self-care, and distress. DSMS satisfaction was also examined.

Results: There was a significant improvement in A1C, empowerment, aspects of self-care, and distress following DSME at 6 weeks. Those in the educator DSMS group best sustained improved A1C while those in the other DSMS groups maintained glycemic improvements but began to show trends toward worsening. No significant differences or clear trends were seen in other clinical, behavioral, or psychosocial outcomes. The Program Reinforcement Impacts Self-Management (PRISM) study demonstrates that following DSME, participants maintained improved glycemia, lipid, weight, and self-care behaviors and reductions in distress throughout the delivery of DSMS interventions regardless of DSMS supporter. All of the participants reported satisfaction with DSMS.

Conclusions: These findings reaffirm the critical role of educators but suggest that others may serve as DSMS supporters. Results suggest that DSME delivered in primary care is effective and multiple DSMS agents are reasonable. As patient-centered self-management approaches are being explored in primary care, delivery of DSME and DSMS becomes paramount.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Power, Psychological
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Self Care*
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


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