Background: The DE-PLAN-CAT project (Diabetes in Europe-Prevention using lifestyle, physical activity and nutritional intervention-Catalonia) has shown that an intensive lifestyle intervention is feasible in the primary care setting and substantially reduces the incidence of diabetes among high-risk Mediterranean participants. The DP-TRANSFERS project (Diabetes Prevention-Transferring findings from European research to society) is a large-scale national programme aimed at implementing this intervention in primary care centres whenever feasible.
Methods: A multidisciplinary committee first evaluated the programme in health professionals and then participants without diabetes aged 45-75 years identified as being at risk of developing diabetes: FINDRISC (Finnish Diabetes Risk Score)>11 and/or pre-diabetes diagnosis. Implementation was supported by a 4-channel transfer approach (institutional relationships, facilitator workshops, collaborative groupware, programme website) and built upon a 3-step (screening, intervention, follow-up) real-life strategy. The 2-year lifestyle intervention included a 9-hour basic module (6 sessions) and a subsequent 15-hour continuity module (10 sessions) delivered by trained primary healthcare professionals. A 3-level (centre, professionals and participants) descriptive analysis was conducted using cluster sampling to assess results and barriers identified one year after implementation.
Results: The programme was started in June-2016 and evaluated in July-2017. In all, 103 centres covering all the primary care services for 1.4 million inhabitants (27.9% of all centres in Catalonia) and 506 professionals agreed to develop the programme. At the end of the first year, 83 centres (80.6%) remained active and 305 professionals (60.3%) maintained regular web-based activities. Implementation was not feasible in 20 centres (19.4%), and 5 main barriers were prioritized: lack of healthcare manager commitment; discontinuity of the initial effort; substantial increase in staff workload; shift in professional status and lack of acceptance. Overall, 1819 people were screened and 1458 (80.1%) followed the lifestyle intervention, with 1190 (81.6% or 65.4% of those screened) participating in the basic module and 912 in the continuity module (62.5% or 50.1%, respectively).
Conclusions: A large-scale lifestyle intervention in primary care can be properly implemented within a reasonably short time using existing public healthcare resources. Regrettably, one fifth of the centres and more than one third of the professionals showed substantial resistance to performing these additional activities.