Diabetes in urban African-Americans. XVII. Availability of rapid HbA1c measurements enhances clinical decision-making.


OBJECTIVE To assess the impact of rapid-turnaround HbA1c results on providers' clinical decision-making and on follow-up HbA1c levels. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The research design was a randomized clinical trial in which rapid HbA1c results were made available to providers on even days of the month (rapid, n = 575), but delayed by 24 h on odd days (conventional, n = 563). Adjustment of therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes was considered appropriate if therapy was intensified for HbA1c values >7% or not intensified for HbA1c values < or =7%. A post-hoc analysis was also performed using patients (n = 574) who returned for follow-up 2-7 months later to ascertain the effect of rapid HbA1c availability on subsequent glycemic control. RESULTS Rapid HbA1c availability resulted in more appropriate management compared with conventional HbA1c availability (79 vs. 71%, P = 0.003). This difference was due mainly to less frequent intensification when HbA1c levels were < or =7% (10 vs. 22%, P < 0.0001) and slightly to more frequent intensification for patients with HbA1c values >7% (67 vs. 63%, P = 0.33). For both groups, intensification was greatest for patients on insulin (51%) compared with patients on oral agents (35%) and diet alone (14%) (P < 0.0001). Regression analysis confirmed that providers receiving conventional HbA1c results were more likely to intensify therapy in patients who already had HbA1c levels < or =7%. Over 2-7 months of follow-up, HbA1c rose more in patients with conventional HbA1c results compared with rapid results (0.8 vs. 0.4%, P = 0.02). In patients with initial HbA1c >7%, rapid HbA1c results had a favorable impact on follow-up HbA1c independent of the decision to intensify therapy (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS Availability of rapid HbA1c determinations appears to facilitate diabetes management. The more favorable follow-up HbA1c profile in the rapid HbA1c group occurs independently of the decision to intensify therapy, suggesting the involvement of other factors such as enhanced provider and/or patient motivation.


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@article{Thaler1999DiabetesIU, title={Diabetes in urban African-Americans. XVII. Availability of rapid HbA1c measurements enhances clinical decision-making.}, author={Leonard M Thaler and David C. Ziemer and Daniel L Gallina and Curtiss B. Cook and Virginia G Dunbar and Lawrence S. Phillips and Imad M el-Kebbi}, journal={Diabetes care}, year={1999}, volume={22 9}, pages={1415-21} }