Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a Community Health Worker (CHW)-led diabetes self-management education (DSME) program and to understand how CHWs and primary care providers (PCPs) work together to provide comprehensive diabetes care.
Methods: A quantitative pre- and postassessment of change in patients' blood glucose levels (A1C), blood pressure, and body mass index was performed to determine the clinical effectiveness of the program. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 5 CHWs and 7 PCPs were conducted to assess how CHWs were incorporated into clinical teams and their impact on care delivery and diabetes-related outcomes.
Results: Patients who participated in the program experienced a statistically significant decrease in mean A1C levels and systolic blood pressure readings 1 year post baseline. CHWs provided high-quality care and bridged the gap between patients and care providers through diabetes management support and education, medication assistance, access to community resources, and social support.
Conclusions: CHWs play a variety of roles in helping patients overcome barriers to diabetes control and can be successfully integrated into a health care system's care coordination strategy.