PHOENIX, ARIZ. – Diabetes patients in China who were enrolled in a team-based care intervention with clinical decision support systems significantly reduced their hemoglobin A1c, systolic blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol over 18 months, compared with those who received team-based care alone.
The finding comes from the Diabetes Complication Control in Community Clinics (D4C), a cluster randomized trial conducted in 38 community health centers in Xiamen, China.
“Diabetes has become a major public health challenge worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries where populations are large and growing and health care resources are limited,” Jiang He, MD, PhD, said at the Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health meeting.
According to Dr. He, chair and professor of epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, the prevalence of diabetes has increased rapidly in recent decades in China, from 2.5% in 1994 to 11.6% in 2010. “It was estimated that 114 million Chinese adults had diabetes in 2010,” he said. “Hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, and elevated LDL cholesterol are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and premature death. The majority of patients with diabetes have multiple uncontrolled CVD risk factors due to suboptimal care. Diabetes and its complications further strain an already overburdened and overwhelmed health care system, especially tertiary care facilities, in China. On the other hand, community health centers are underutilized.”
In D4C, Dr. He and colleagues set out to evaluate changes in CVD risk factors among patients with diabetes after implementing a team-based care model at community health centers in Xiamen, China. They compared the effectiveness of team-based care with clinical decision support systems versus team-based care alone on CVD risk factor control among patients with diabetes at these community health centers.
The study population consisted of 10,942 patients aged 50 years and older with uncontrolled diabetes and at least one of the following three additional CVD risk factors: systolic BP of at least 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic BP of at least 90 mm Hg; LDL cholesterol of at least 100 mg/dL, or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). At the intervention clinics, team-based care was delivered by a team of primary care physicians, nurses, and diabetes specialists. The researchers trained the primary care physicians and nurses, and a clinical decision support system was integrated with guideline-based treatment algorithms for controlling glycemia, blood pressure, and lipids.
At the enhanced care control clinics, team-based care was delivered by a team of primary care physicians, nurses, and diabetes specialists. The city health commission trained the primary care physicians and nurses. The intervention lasted for 18 months in both groups.
Dr. He, the D4C study chair, reported findings from 10,942 patients: 5,394 in the intervention group and 5,548 in the enhanced care group. The mean baseline age was similar between the intervention group and the enhanced care group (a mean of 63 years), as was body mass index (a mean of 24.9 kg/m2), hemoglobin A1c (a mean of 8.8 vs. 8.7%, respectively), LDL cholesterol (121.2 vs. 121.1 mg/dL), systolic blood pressure (136.6 vs. 136.9 mm Hg), and diastolic blood pressure (79.7 vs. 79.8 mm Hg).
The researchers found patients in both groups experienced significant reductions in HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, and BP over the 18-month follow-up, but those in the intervention group fared better in all measures. Specifically, the mean change in HbA1c from baseline was –.85% in the intervention group, compared with –.66% in the enhanced care group, while the change in LDL was –19 mg/dL, compared with –12.8 mg/dL, respectively; the change in systolic blood pressure was –8.9 mm Hg vs. –7.7 mm Hg, and the change in 10-year ASCVD risk was .57% vs. .28% (P < .0001 for all associations).
The researchers also observed that the proportions of controlled HbA1c, LDL, and blood pressure at 18 months were higher in the intervention group, compared with the enhanced care group. Specifically, 38% of patients in the intervention group achieved glycemic control, compared with 35% of those in the enhanced care group (P =. 0006), while 48% vs. 39%, respectively, achieved control of LDL cholesterol (P < .0001), and 78% vs. 75% achieved control of blood pressure (P = .0009). In addition, 15% vs. 12% achieved control of all three risk factors at 18 months (P < .0001).
“Implementing team-based care with a clinical decision support system is an effective and sustainable strategy for diabetes control in primary care settings,” Dr. He said at the meeting, which was sponsored by the American Heart Association. “This implementation strategy could be scaled up within primary care settings in China and other low- to middle-income countries to improve CVD risk factor control in patients with diabetes.”
In an interview, session moderator Joshua J. Joseph, MD, of Ohio State University, Columbus, pointed out that since only 12%-15% of study participants achieved control of all three CVD risk factors, “that leaves a great opportunity for [figuring out] how to we get the other 88% or 85% of patients to target levels. That’s going to be important as we think about cardiovascular disease prevention in type 2 diabetes. The more we can use team-based care along with clinical decision support tools, the more we will continue to improve the lives of patients.”
The study was supported by the Xiamen City Health Commission. Dr. He reported having no financial disclosures.
SOURCE: He J et al. EPI/LIFESTYLE 2020, session 7A, abstract 17.