INTRODUCTION: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases and has a significant health and social impact. Strict control of blood glucose levels and other risk factors for vascular disease reduces complications and mortality and is related to the quality of care received. Although care should be interdisciplinary, based on the coordination of primary care (PC) and hospital care (HC), little information is available on the effectiveness of the different existing intervention models.
OBJECTIVE: To assess, in a population with DM from a healthcare area, the impact on health, quality of care, and effectiveness in the use of resources of a specific model of shared management of patients with DM (Instrument for Evaluation of Models of Chronic Care in Diabetes Mellitus; IEMAC-DM).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A quasi-experimental before-after intervention study in patients with DM in the Cádiz-San Fernando Healthcare Area (Andalusia, Spain) that allows for identifying the capacity of the program to improve the quality indicators both in the whole population with DM and in that referred to HC. For this, a working group consisting of healthcare professionals of different profiles and care levels was set up. An initial self-assessment was done using the IEMAC-DM tool and, after analysis of the preliminary results, improvement strategies were established and implemented. Finally, the clinical and resource management results were assessed before and two years after the implementation of the model.
RESULTS: During the study period, no significant changes were seen in process indicators related to laboratory practices or examinations in the health area. The proportion of patients with acceptable metabolic control [glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level<8%] was 49% in 2015 and 45% in 2017. The number of admissions related to acute myocardial infarction and stroke remained constant, but there was an increase in the standardized ratio of major lower limb amputations (1.5 vs. 1.9). Of the 295 patients referred from PC to HC, the proportion of adequate referrals increased from 40% in 2015 to 76% in 2017 (p=0.001). In the referred patients, a significant improvement was seen in the mean difference in glycosylated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c; 1.14±1.73%; 95% CI: 0.73-1.55; p=0.0001) and cholesterol (11.28±40mg/dL; 95% CI: 2.07-20.48; p=0.012).
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that an intervention based on a chronicity care model adapted to patients with DM improves certain aspects related to the quality of care and the degree of metabolic control. Improving health outcomes will require long-term evaluation and, probably, other additional interventions.
Keywords: Atención a la cronicidad Atención hospitalaria Atención primaria Care management Chronicity care Complicaciones de la diabetes mellitus Complications of diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Gestión asistencial Hospital care Primary care