Research Finds Diabetes Patients Get Better Care When Seen by their Usual Provider
Patients with diabetes were more likely to get appropriate care when they saw their usual clinician rather than another provider in the same group practice, according to a new study. People who saw their primary care provider for a new health problem were more likely to receive lifestyle counseling and medication changes for poorly managed diabetes. In contrast, patients who saw clinicians serving on an interim basis were less likely to receive additional treatments for their diabetes. This research was performed using natural language processing technology that examined hundreds of thousands of providers’ notes in just a matter of hours; it is increasingly considered to be a cost- and time-efficient approach to analysis of clinical encounters. The study, “Performance of Primary Care Physicians and Other Providers on Key Process Measures in the Treatment of Diabetes,” appeared in the January issue of Diabetes Care. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®
Diabetes Care. 2012 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]
Performance of Primary Care Physicians and Other Providers on Key Process Measures in the Treatment of Diabetes.
SourceDivision of Endocrinology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
OBJECTIVEStudies have shown that patients without a consistent primary care provider have inferior outcomes. However, little is known about the mechanisms for these effects. This study aims to determine whether primary care physicians (PCPs) provide more frequent medication intensification, lifestyle counseling, and patient encounters than other providers in the primary care setting.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSThis retrospective cohort study included 584,587 encounters for 27,225 patients with diabetes and elevated A1C, blood pressure, and/or LDL cholesterol monitored for at least 2 years. Encounters occurred at primary care practices affiliated with two teaching hospitals in eastern Massachusetts.RESULTSOf the encounters documented, 83% were with PCPs, 13% were with covering physicians, and 5% were with midlevel providers. In multivariable analysis, the odds of medication intensification were 49% (P < 0.0001) and 26% (P < 0.0001) higher for PCPs than for covering physicians and midlevel providers, respectively, whereas the odds of lifestyle counseling were 91% (P < 0.0001) and 21% (P = 0.0015) higher. During visits with acute complaints, covering physicians were even less likely, by a further 52% (P < 0.0001), to intensify medications, and midlevel providers were even less likely, by a further 41% (P < 0.0001), to provide lifestyle counseling. Compared with PCPs, the hazard ratios for time to the next encounter after a visit without acute complaints were 1.11 for covering physicians and 1.19 for midlevel providers (P < 0.0001 for both).CONCLUSIONSPCPs provide better care through higher rates of medication intensification and lifestyle counseling. Covering physicians and midlevel providers may enable more frequent encounters when PCP resources are constrained.
- [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]