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An exploratory retrospective assessment of a quantitative measure of diabetes risk: medical management and patient impact in a primary care setting

Authors Courtney M, Moler E, Osborne J, Whitney G, Conard SE

Received 6 December 2014

Accepted for publication 27 May 2015

Published 18 September 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 447—453


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ming-Hui Zou

Maureen R Courtney,1 Edward J Moler,2 John A Osborne,3 Geoff Whitney,4 Scott E Conard5

1College of Nursing, University of Texas Arlington, Arlington, 2Clarient Diagnostics, Aliso Viejo, CA, 3State of the Heart Cardiology, Grapevine, 4WaveTwo, Inc., Irving, 5ACAP Health, Dallas, TX, USA

Background: Primary care providers with limited time and resources bear a heavy responsibility for chronic disease prevention or progression. Reliable clinical tools are needed to risk stratify patients for more targeted care. This exploratory study examined the care of patients who had been risk stratified regarding their likelihood of clinically progressing to type 2 diabetes.
Methods: This was a retrospective chart review pilot study conducted to assess a primary care provider's use of a risk screening test. In this quality improvement project, the result of the risk screening was examined in relation to its influence on medical management and clinical impact on patients at risk for diabetes. All providers were board certified in family medicine and had more than 10 years clinical experience in managing diabetes and prediabetes. No specific clinical practice guidelines were mandated for patient care in this pilot study. Physicians in the practice group received an orientation to the diabetes risk measure and its availability for use in a pilot study to be conducted over a 6-month period. We identified the 696 nondiabetic adults in family practices who received a risk screening test (PreDx®, a multi-marker blood test that estimates the 5-year likelihood of conversion to type 2 diabetes) between June and November 2011 for a 6-month sample. A comparison group of 2,002 patients from a total database of 3.2 million patients who did not receive the risk test was randomly selected from the same clinical database after matching for age, sex, selected diagnoses, and metabolic risk factors. Patient groups were compared for intensity of care provided and clinical impact.
Results: Compared to patients with a similar demographic and diagnostic profile, patients who had the risk test received more intensive primary care and had better clinical outcome than comparison patients. Risk-tested patients were more likely to return for follow-up visits, be monitored for relevant cardio-metabolic risk factors, and receive prescription medications with P<0.001. Further, intensity of care was associated with the level of risk test result: patients with moderate or high scores were more likely to return for follow-up visits and receive prescription medications than patients with low scores. All P-values for comparison patients between the low and moderate groups, low and high groups, and moderate and high groups resulted in P<0.001. Risk-tested patients were more likely than their comparison group counterparts to achieve weight reduction, lowered blood pressure, and improved blood glucose and cholesterol as demonstrated by P-values of <0.001.
Conclusion: Use of a risk stratification test in primary care may help providers to more effectively identify high risk patients, manage diabetes risk, increase patient involvement in diabetes risk management, and improve clinical outcomes. A randomized controlled study is the next step to investigate the impact of diabetes risk stratification in primary care.

Keywords: patient outcomes, diabetes, diabetes prevention

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