Divergence in perceptions of diabetes control among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with basal insulin and health care professionals: results from the US Perceptions of Control (POC-US) study

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2019 May 10;13:761-773. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S194598. eCollection 2019.


Background: Approximately 60% of the patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) on basal insulin have an HbA1c ≥7%. This analysis of the US Perceptions of Control (POC-US) study aimed to understand US patient and health care professional (HCP) views of diabetes "control," which may play a role in whether patients reduce their HbA1c or achieve HbA1c <7%. Methods: A cross-sectional, Web-based survey of 500 US HCPs (primary care physicians, endocrinologists, nurse practitioners/physician assistants) and 618 US adults with T2DM using basal insulin was conducted to assess perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors associated with T2DM management. The survey was developed from previous research examples and qualitative exploratory research and was pretested. Patients self-reported their most recent HbA1c level and confirmed this value with their HCP, if necessary. Results: Patients and HCPs differed on some definitions of "in control." HbA1c value was used most often by both populations, but more frequently by HCPs (91% vs 69%). Patients also often used behavioral criteria (eg, adherence to lifestyle changes and/or treatment regimens), and HCPs often used clinical criteria (eg, hypoglycemia). Most HCPs focused on the last 3 months to define control (67% vs 34% patients; P<0.05), whereas patients more frequently reported focusing on "the current moment" or "the past week." Patients were more likely to agree that controlling their condition is "completely the patients' responsibility" (patients, 67%; HCPs, 34%; P<0.05); HCPs were more likely to agree that they have "a responsibility to actively contribute to the control of their patients' T2DM" (90% vs 60%; P<0.05). Conclusion: US patients with T2DM have differing views from HCPs on key aspects of diabetes control and management and are less likely to consider HbA1c value as a criterion for determining control. Recognizing and addressing these differences may improve patient-HCP communication and may potentially improve patient outcomes.

Keywords: Diabetes control; diabetes management; diabetes perceptions.