Trends in the process and outcome indicators of type 2 diabetes care: a cohort study from Eastern Finland, 2012-2017

BMC Fam Pract. 2020 Dec 4;21(1):253. doi: 10.1186/s12875-020-01324-5.


Background: Evidence-based guidelines include concrete treatment targets that can be used as process and outcome indicators in the evaluation of the quality of healthcare services and diabetes care. Quality improvement can be evaluated by monitoring longitudinal trends in the care indicators on the system level. The aim of this study is to describe trends in the processes and outcomes of care among people with type 2 diabetes in North Karelia, Finland.

Methods: The data consist of all adults with type 2 diabetes (identified from the EHRs using ICD-10 codes) who used primary or specialized care services in North Karelia during 2012-2017. The diabetes care was evaluated using the measurement activity, treatment levels, and the achievement of the treatment targets for HbA1c and LDL as care indicators. Logistic and linear models with generalized estimating equations were used to assess the differences between years, sexes, and age groups.

Results: The proportion of patients with annual measurement varied between 75.8 and 78.1% for HbA1c and between 67.4 and 69.1% for LDL during a five-year follow-up. The changes in average levels were moderate: a 0.2% (2 mmol/mol) increase for HbA1c and a 0.1 mmol/l decrease for LDL. Anyway, the proportion of patients meeting the treatment target for HbA1c decreased from 72.7 to 67.3% (age-adjusted decrease: 5.7%p, 95% CI: 4.5-6.9) and for LDL it increased from 53.4 to 59.5% (age-adjusted increase: 5.6%p, 95% CI: 4.2-7.0). Women were measured and met the HbA1c target level more often compared with men. Conversely, men met the LDL target level more often than women, and the age-adjusted difference between sexes increased smoothly from 7.9%p to 11.7%p.

Conclusions: The achievements in relation to type 2 diabetes care in North Karelia are very good, but no major improvement was observed during follow-up. HbA1c levels had a rising tendency and LDL levels declining tendency indicating quality improvement in LDL management, but challenges in further improvement in glucose control.

Keywords: Care; Electronic health records; HbA1c; LDL; Trends; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / therapy
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality Improvement


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A