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1.  Correction: Diabetes Care Provision in UK Primary Care Practices 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):10.1371/annotation/1957ad3b-e192-4faa-bf4c-5dce22c5560e.
doi:10.1371/annotation/1957ad3b-e192-4faa-bf4c-5dce22c5560e
PMCID: PMC3414526
2.  Diabetes Care Provision in UK Primary Care Practices 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41562.
Background
Although most people with Type 2 diabetes receive their diabetes care in primary care, only a limited amount is known about the quality of diabetes care in this setting. We investigated the provision and receipt of diabetes care delivered in UK primary care.
Methods
Postal surveys with all healthcare professionals and a random sample of 100 patients with Type 2 diabetes from 99 UK primary care practices.
Results
326/361 (90.3%) doctors, 163/186 (87.6%) nurses and 3591 patients (41.8%) returned a questionnaire. Clinicians reported giving advice about lifestyle behaviours (e.g. 88% would routinely advise about calorie restriction; 99.6% about increasing exercise) more often than patients reported having received it (43% and 42%) and correlations between clinician and patient report were low. Patients’ reported levels of confidence about managing their diabetes were moderately high; a median (range) of 21% (3% to 39%) of patients reporting being not confident about various areas of diabetes self-management.
Conclusions
Primary care practices have organisational structures in place and are, as judged by routine quality indicators, delivering high quality care. There remain evidence-practice gaps in the care provided and in the self confidence that patients have for key aspects of self management and further research is needed to address these issues. Future research should use robust designs and appropriately designed studies to investigate how best to improve this situation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041562
PMCID: PMC3408463  PMID: 22859997
3.  A cluster randomised trial of educational messages to improve the primary care of diabetes 
Background
Regular laboratory test monitoring of patient parameters offers a route for improving the quality of chronic disease care. We evaluated the effects of brief educational messages attached to laboratory test reports on diabetes care.
Methods
A programme of cluster randomised controlled trials was set in primary care practices in one primary care trust in England. Participants were the primary care practices' constituent healthcare professionals and patients with diabetes. Interventions comprised brief educational messages added to paper and electronic primary care practice laboratory test reports and introduced over two phases. Phase one messages, attached to Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) reports, targeted glycaemic and cholesterol control. Phase two messages, attached to albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) reports, targeted blood pressure (BP) control, and foot inspection. Main outcome measures comprised practice mean HbA1c and cholesterol levels, diastolic and systolic BP, and proportions of patients having undergone foot inspections.
Results
Initially, 35 out of 37 eligible practices participated. Outcome data were available for a total of 8,690 patients with diabetes from 32 practices. The BP message produced a statistically significant reduction in diastolic BP (-0.62 mmHg; 95% confidence interval -0.82 to -0.42 mmHg) but not systolic BP (-0.06 mmHg, -0.42 to 0.30 mmHg) and increased the odds of achieving target BP control (odds ratio 1.05; 1.00, 1.10). The foot inspection message increased the likelihood of a recorded foot inspection (incidence rate ratio 1.26; 1.18 to 1.36). The glycaemic control message had no effect on mean HbA1c (increase 0.01%; -0.03 to 0.04) despite increasing the odds of a change in likelihood of HbA1c tests being ordered (OR 1.06; 1.01, 1.11). The cholesterol message had no effect (decrease 0.01 mmol/l, -0.04 to 0.05).
Conclusions
Three out of four interventions improved intermediate outcomes or process of diabetes care. The diastolic BP reduction approximates to relative reductions in mortality of 3% to 5% in stroke and 3% to 4% in ischaemic heart disease over 10 years. The lack of effect for other outcomes may, in part, be explained by difficulties in bringing about further improvements beyond certain thresholds of clinical performance.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN2186314.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-129
PMCID: PMC3284425  PMID: 22177466
4.  Instrument development, data collection, and characteristics of practices, staff, and measures in the Improving Quality of Care in Diabetes (iQuaD) Study 
Background
Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic illness and an important cause of avoidable mortality. Patients are managed by the integrated activities of clinical and non-clinical members of primary care teams. This study aimed to: investigate theoretically-based organisational, team, and individual factors determining the multiple behaviours needed to manage diabetes; and identify multilevel determinants of different diabetes management behaviours and potential interventions to improve them. This paper describes the instrument development, study recruitment, characteristics of the study participating practices and their constituent healthcare professionals and administrative staff and reports descriptive analyses of the data collected.
Methods
The study was a predictive study over a 12-month period. Practices (N = 99) were recruited from within the UK Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework. We identified six behaviours chosen to cover a range of clinical activities (prescribing, non-prescribing), reflect decisions that were not necessarily straightforward (controlling blood pressure that was above target despite other drug treatment), and reflect recommended best practice as described by national guidelines. Practice attributes and a wide range of individually reported measures were assessed at baseline; measures of clinical outcome were collected over the ensuing 12 months, and a number of proxy measures of behaviour were collected at baseline and at 12 months. Data were collected by telephone interview, postal questionnaire (organisational and clinical) to practice staff, postal questionnaire to patients, and by computer data extraction query.
Results
All 99 practices completed a telephone interview and responded to baseline questionnaires. The organisational questionnaire was completed by 931/1236 (75.3%) administrative staff, 423/529 (80.0%) primary care doctors, and 255/314 (81.2%) nurses. Clinical questionnaires were completed by 326/361 (90.3%) primary care doctors and 163/186 (87.6%) nurses. At a practice level, we achieved response rates of 100% from clinicians in 40 practices and > 80% from clinicians in 67 practices. All measures had satisfactory internal consistency (alpha coefficient range from 0.61 to 0.97; Pearson correlation coefficient (two item measures) 0.32 to 0.81); scores were generally consistent with good practice. Measures of behaviour showed relatively high rates of performance of the six behaviours, but with considerable variability within and across the behaviours and measures.
Discussion
We have assembled an unparalleled data set from clinicians reporting on their cognitions in relation to the performance of six clinical behaviours involved in the management of people with one chronic disease (diabetes mellitus), using a range of organisational and individual level measures as well as information on the structure of the practice teams and across a large number of UK primary care practices. We would welcome approaches from other researchers to collaborate on the analysis of this data.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-61
PMCID: PMC3130687  PMID: 21658211
5.  Improving the delivery of care for patients with diabetes through understanding optimised team work and organisation in primary care 
Background
Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic illness and is an important cause of avoidable mortality. Patients are managed by the integrated activities of clinical and non-clinical members of the primary care team. Studies of the quality of care for patients with diabetes suggest less than optimum care in a number of areas.
Aim
The aim of this study is to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes cared for in primary care in the UK by identifying individual, team, and organisational factors that predict the implementation of best practice.
Design
Participants will be clinical and non-clinical staff within 100 general practices sampled from practices who are members of the MRC General Practice Research Framework. Self-completion questionnaires will be developed to measure the attributes of individual health care professionals, primary care teams (including both clinical and non-clinical staff), and their organisation in primary care. Questionnaires will be administered using postal survey methods. A range of validated theories will be used as a framework for the questionnaire instruments. Data relating to a range of dimensions of the organisational structure of primary care will be collected via a telephone interview at each practice using a structured interview schedule. We will also collect data relating to the processes of care, markers of biochemical control, and relevant indicator scores from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF). Process data (as a proxy indicator of clinical behaviours) will be collected from practice databases and via a postal questionnaire survey of a random selection of patients from each practice. Levels of biochemical control will be extracted from practice databases. A series of analyses will be conducted to relate the individual, team, and organisational data to the process, control, and QOF data to identify configurations associated with high quality care.
Study registration
UKCRN ref:DRN120 (ICPD)
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-22
PMCID: PMC2680803  PMID: 19397796
6.  A cluster randomised controlled trial of educational prompts in diabetes care: study protocol 
Background
Laboratory services have a central role in supporting screening, diagnosis, and management of patients. The increase in chronic disease management in primary care for conditions such as diabetes mellitus requires regular monitoring of patients' biochemical parameters. This process offers a route for improving the quality of care that patients receive by using test results as a vehicle for delivering educational messages as well as the test result itself.
Aim
To develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a quality improvement initiative to improve the care of patients with diabetes using test report reminders.
Design
A programme of four cluster randomised controlled trials within one population of general practices.
Participants
General practices in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
Intervention
Brief educational messages added to paper and electronic general practice laboratory test reports introduced over two phases. Phase One messages, attached to Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) reports, targeted glycaemic and cholesterol control. Phase Two messages, attached to albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) reports, targeted blood pressure (BP) control and foot inspection.
Outcomes
General practice mean levels of HbA1c and cholesterol (Phase One) and diastolic and systolic BP and proportions of patients having undergone foot inspections (Phase Two); number of tests requested.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trial ISRCTN2186314.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-2-22
PMCID: PMC1973073  PMID: 17650309
7.  A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a Diabetes REcall And Management system: the DREAM trial 
Background
Following the introduction of a computerised diabetes register in part of the northeast of England, care initially improved but then plateaued. We therefore enhanced the existing diabetes register to address these problems. The aim of the trial was to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of an area wide 'extended,' computerised diabetes register incorporating a full structured recall and management system, including individualised patient management prompts to primary care clinicians based on locally-adapted, evidence-based guidelines.
Methods
The study design was a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial, with the general practice as the unit of randomisation. Set in 58 general practices in three Primary Care Trusts in the northeast of England, the study outcomes were the clinical process and outcome variables held on the diabetes register, patient-reported outcomes, and service and patient costs. The effect of the intervention was estimated using generalised linear models with an appropriate error structure. To allow for the clustering of patients within practices, population averaged models were estimated using generalized estimating equations.
Results
Patients in intervention practices were more likely to have at least one diabetes appointment recorded (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.02, 3.91), to have a recording of a foot check (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.09, 3.21), have a recording of receiving dietary advice (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.22, 6.29), and have a recording of blood pressure (BP) (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.06, 4.36). There was no difference in mean HbA1c or BP levels, but the mean cholesterol level in patients from intervention practices was significantly lower (-0.15 mmol/l, 95% CI -0.25, -0.06). There were no differences in patient-reported outcomes or in patient-reported use of drugs, or uptake of health services. The average cost per patient was not significantly different between the intervention and control groups. Costs incurred in administering the system at the register and in general practice were in addition to these.
Conclusion
This study has shown benefits from an area-wide, computerised diabetes register incorporating a full structured recall and individualised patient management system. However, these benefits were achieved at a cost. In future, these costs may fall as electronic data exchange becomes a reliable reality.
Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) Register, ISRCTN32042030.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-2-6
PMCID: PMC1804280  PMID: 17306017
10.  A randomised controlled trial of a patient based Diabetes recall and Management system: the DREAM trial: A study protocol [ISRCTN32042030] 
Background
Whilst there is broad agreement on what constitutes high quality health care for people with diabetes, there is little consensus on the most efficient way of delivering it. Structured recall systems can improve the quality of care but the systems evaluated to date have been of limited sophistication and the evaluations have been carried out in small numbers of relatively unrepresentative settings. Hartlepool, Easington and Stockton currently operate a computerised diabetes register which has to date produced improvements in the quality of care but performance has now plateaued leaving substantial scope for further improvement. This study will evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of an area wide 'extended' system incorporating a full structured recall and management system, actively involving patients and including clinical management prompts to primary care clinicians based on locally-adapted evidence based guidelines.
Methods
The study design is a two-armed cluster randomised controlled trial of 61 practices incorporating evaluations of the effectiveness of the system, its economic impact and its impact on patient wellbeing and functioning.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-2-5
PMCID: PMC101376  PMID: 11914161

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