Diabetes group medical visits and outcomes of care in low-income, rural, uninsured persons


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of Diabetes Group Medical Visits (DGMVs) verses usual care in a sample of low-income patients with diabetes receiving care at a rural free clinic. Methods: Data were collected through chart review, using direct data entry into Microsoft Access. Participants were included if they met the inclusion criteria: 1) age 18 years; 2) diagnosis of diabetes; 3) uninsured and received care between May 2007 and August 2009. Fifty-three participants attended DGMVs and were compared to 58 participants who received usual care. Results: The personal characteristics and biophysical measures of this population differed from previously studied Group Visit populations. The majority of patients were female (73.9%), white (95.5%), younger than 50 (53.2%), driving long distances to receive care (mean miles = 21, SD 20.4) and had a high school education or less (95.4%). Participants were severely obese (mean BMI = 37.6, SD 28.48) and had 5 co-morbid conditions other than diabetes (mean = 5.5, SD 2.1). Those attending DGMVs had higher baseline A1C, depression scores, BMIs, and more pain than usual care. There was a statistically significant decrease in systolic pressure from time one to time two in patients who attended DGMVs t(52) = 2.18, (p = 0.03). There was no significant impact on outcomes of patients who received usual care. However, it is important to note that the majority of patients attended three or fewer DGMVs visits in one year. Conclusion: Group visits may not be enough to improve outcomes in this population. Previous studies suggest that improvements are seen in those who attend more frequently. Hence, the lack of improvement in biophysical outcomes may be due to low attendance. The limited impact of this traditional style intervention in relation to low attendance argues the need to test alternative interventions to reach this population.

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Mallow, J. , Theeke, L. , Whetsel, T. and Barnes, E. (2013) Diabetes group medical visits and outcomes of care in low-income, rural, uninsured persons. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 314-322. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.33043.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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