Enhancing Access to Diabetes Self-management Education in Primary Care

Diabetes Educ. 2016 Oct;42(5):635-45. doi: 10.1177/0145721716659147. Epub 2016 Jul 31.


Purpose: The purpose of this continuous quality improvement project was to improve access to diabetes self-management education (DSME) and to evaluate the impact on glycemic and weight control by translating an academic medical center's DSME program, accredited per the Education Recognition Program (ERP) of the American Diabetes Association, into a program offered at primary care clinics (PCCs).

Methods: Certified diabetes educators from the medical center trained PCC registered dietitian nutritionists, registered nurses, and social workers to provide DSME in their community-based clinic. Main outcomes of this retrospective, pretest/posttest, observational project were to evaluate enrollment in DSME classes and change in A1C and weight as patients underwent a combined intervention of diabetes education classes with or without consultation and support from a PCC registered dietitian nutritionist or registered nurse.

Results: PCC DSME was associated with increased enrollment in DSME classes and a significant reduction of A1C and weight at 3 and 6 months post-DSME. Greatest A1C and weight reductions were observed in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes. Reductions were also seen in patients with diabetes duration ≥10 years, participants taking insulin, and those with depression.

Conclusions: PCC DSME availability increased access to group diabetes education and resulted in reduced A1C and weight for participants. This model was successful in translating an established academic accredited DSME-ERP into a PCC. Results have implications for increasing access to diabetes education programs and improving diabetes control for patients not located near major hospital-based DSME programs.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self-Management / education*
  • Young Adult


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