Aims: Assess the relationship between timely treatment intensification and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) control quality-of-care performance measures, i.e., HbA1C levels, among patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Materials and methods: Electronic medical records and diabetes registry data from a large, accountable care organization (ACO) were used to isolate a sample of adult patients with type 2 diabetes who received at least one oral antidiabetes agent and had at least one HbA1C level measurement 8.0% (64 mmol/mol; i.e., uncontrolled diabetes) between 7/1/2011 and 6/30/2015. Treatment intensification status was evaluated for each patient during a 120-day treatment intensification window following the index HbA1c measure. Two-level hierarchical generalized linear models, with patients aggregated at the physician level, were used to assess the association between treatment intensification and achieving HbA1C quality performance measures. Results: 547 patients met study selection criteria and 480 patients had at least one HbA1C test after the treatment intensification window and were used for the statistical analyses. About 40% of patients who had uncontrolled diabetes received treatment intensification during the 120- day window. Greater index HbA1C, greater patient body mass index, and fewer unique preindex oral antidiabetes agents were significantly associated with greater likelihood of receiving timely treatment intensification. The odds of receiving treatment intensification were about 1.8 times higher (P = 0.0027) among patients with poor index HbA1C control (HbA1c level >9.0% [75 mmol/mol]) compared to other patients (index HbA1c 8.0% - 9.0%). Hispanic patients (compared to White patients) were significantly more likely to exhibit poor control after treatment intensification (odds ratio [OR] 2.91, P = 0.0304), underscoring the difficulty of controlling diabetes in this vulnerable group. In contrast, being male and being treated primarily by an internist (compared to primary treatment by a family medicine specialist) were both significantly associated with achieving superior control (HbA1c level <8.0%) after treatment intensification (OR 0.53 [P = 0.0165]; OR 0.41 [P = 0.0275], respectively). Conclusions: Timely treatment intensification was significantly associated with greater likelihood of patients achieving superior HbA1C control (<8.0%) and better HbA1C control quality performance for the practice. Even in an ACO with resources dedicated to diabetes control, it is incumbent upon clinicians to readily identify and open dialogues with patients who may benefit from closely supervised, individualized attention.
Arnold, R. J. G., Yang, S., Gold, E. J., Farahbakhshian, S., & Sheehan, J. J. (2018). Assessment of the relationship between diabetes treatment intensification and quality measure performance using electronic medical records. PLoS ONE, 13(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199011