Effects of telephone-based peer support in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus receiving integrated care: a randomized clinical trial

JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Jun;174(6):972-81. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.655.


Importance: In type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), team management using protocols with regular feedback improves clinical outcomes, although suboptimal self-management and psychological distress remain significant challenges.

Objective: To investigate if frequent contacts through a telephone-based peer support program (Peer Support, Empowerment, and Remote Communication Linked by Information Technology [PEARL]) would improve cardiometabolic risk and health outcomes by enhancing psychological well-being and self-care in patients receiving integrated care implemented through a web-based multicomponent quality improvement program (JADE [Joint Asia Diabetes Evaluation]).

Design, setting, and participants: Between 2009 and 2010, 628 of 2766 Hong Kong Chinese patients with T2DM from 3 publicly funded hospital-based diabetes centers were randomized to the JADE + PEARL (n = 312) or JADE (n = 316) groups, with comprehensive assessment at 0 and 12 months.

Interventions: Thirty-three motivated patients with well-controlled T2DM received 32 hours of training (four 8-hour workshops) to become peer supporters, with 10 patients assigned to each. Peer supporters called their peers at least 12 times, guided by a checklist.

Main outcomes and measures: Changes in hemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) level (primary), proportions of patients with attained treatment targets (HbA(1c) <7%; blood pressure <130/80 mm Hg; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <2.6 mmol/L [to convert to milligrams per deciliter, divide by 0.0256]) (secondary), and other health outcomes at month 12.

Results: Both groups had similar baseline characteristics (mean [SD] age, 54.7 [9.3] years; 57% men; disease duration, 9.4 [7.7] years; HbA(1c) level, 8.2% [1.6%]; systolic blood pressure, 136 [19] mm Hg; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, 2.89 [0.82] mmol/L; 17.4% cardiovascular-renal complications; and 34.9% insulin treated). After a mean (SD) follow-up period of 414 (55) days, 5 patients had died, 144 had at least 1 hospitalization, and 586 had repeated comprehensive assessments. On intention-to-treat analysis, both groups had similar reductions in HbA(1c) (JADE + PEARL, 0.30% [95% CI, 0.12%-0.47%], vs JADE, 0.29% [95% CI, 0.12%-0.47%] [P = .97]) and improvements in treatment targets and psychological-behavioral measures. In the JADE + PEARL group, 90% of patients maintained contacts with their peer supporters, with a median of 20 calls per patient. Most of the discussion items were related to self-management.

Conclusions and relevance: In patients with T2DM receiving integrated care, peer support did not improve cardiometabolic risks or psychological well-being.

Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00950716.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peer Group*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Care
  • Social Support
  • Telephone

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00950716