Background: Care transition from paediatric to adult services for young adults with type 1 diabetes is frequently associated with decreased attendance at outpatient hospital clinics and increased disengagement from specialist services. We aimed to assess the effect of an appointment-management intervention on clinic attendance and disengagement after transition.
Methods: We did a randomised, open-label, controlled trial of patients aged 17-19 years with type 1 diabetes. Participants were recruited from a tertiary paediatric diabetes service at the Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) and had to be scheduled for transition to adult services at one of eight centres in Melbourne. We randomly assigned participants (1:1), using sequential sealed opaque envelopes, to either appointment management (intervention) or current care (control). The appointment manager acted as the point of contact between intervention group participants and the relevant adult clinics, and provided personalised pre-appointment telephone and short message service (SMS) reminders with automatic rebooking of missed appointments. No contact was initiated with the control group after recruitment, and any self-initiated contact with the investigating team was directed to the participant's previous treating paediatric physician. The intervention continued throughout the trial until at least 12 months of follow-up data were obtained for all participants. We assessed the mean frequency of adult clinic attendance and disengagement from services during 0-12 months after transition (primary outcomes) and 12-24 months after transition (secondary outcomes), analysed by intention to treat. We used regression analyses, adjusted for clinic attendance and glycated haemoglobin concentration pre-transition, to analyse the effect of the intervention. This study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (number ACTRN12611001012965).
Findings: Between Jan 4, 2012, and Dec 31, 2014, we randomly assigned 120 individuals, 60 to the intervention and 60 to control. During 0-12 months after transition, the mean number of clinics attended was 2·3 (SD 1·1) in the intervention group and 2·3 (1·4) in the control group (p=0·84; adjusted β 0·1, SE 0·2, p=0·88); three (6%) of 49 participants in the intervention group and six (11%) of 55 in the control group disengaged from services (p=0·38; adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0·5, 95% CI 0·1-2·3, p=0·36). At 12-24 months post-transition, mean clinic attendance was 2·5 (SD 1·3) in the intervention group and 1·4 (SD 1·8) in the control group (p=0·001; adjusted β 0·9, SE 0·4, p=0·009); two (6%) of 32 in the intervention group and 18 (49%) of 37 in the control group disengaged from services (p=0·001; adjusted OR 0·1, 95% CI 0·1-0·2, p=0·001). Neither the intervention nor pre-transition clinic attendance had an independent effect on glycated haemoglobin after transition.
Interpretation: Appointment management did not increase clinic attendance and did not decrease disengagement with services 0-12 months after transition to adult services, but had a positive effect during 12-24 months after transition.
Funding: Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group and Lilly.
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