Objective: Clinical inertia is defined as failure to initiate or intensify therapy despite an inadequate treatment response. We assessed the prevalence and identified the predictors of clinical inertia among patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) based on personalized goals.
Methods: Three hemoglobin A1c (A1C) targets (American Diabetes Association A1C <7.0%; modified Ismail-Beigi et al; and Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set) were used when identifying adult patients with T2DM who experienced above-target A1C values during the index period (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2012) in a U.S. managed-care claims database (IMPACT™). Clinical inertia was defined as no intensification of treatment during the response period. Demographic and clinical characteristics were analyzed to identify predictors of treatment intensification.
Results: Irrespective of A1C target, the majority of patients with T2DM (70.4 to 72.8%) experienced clinical inertia in the 6 months following the index event, with 5.3 to 6.2% of patients intensifying treatment with insulin. Patients with a lower likelihood of intensification were older, used >1 oral antidiabetes drug during the baseline period, and had an above-target A1C more recently. Treatment intensification was associated with patients who had point-of-service insurance, mental illness, an endocrinologist visit in the baseline period, or higher index A1C.
Conclusion: The prevalence of clinical inertia among patients with T2DM in a U.S. managed-care setting is high and has increased over more recent years. Factors predicting increased risk of clinical inertia may help identify "at-risk" populations and assist in developing strategies to improve their management.