Background/Aims: For patients with type 2 diabetes of long duration, we evaluated whether improved short-term outcomes obtained through diabetes education were sustained.
Research Design and Methods: 623 adults with glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) greater or equal to 7% were randomized to individual education (IE), group education (GE) using Conversation Maps, or usual care (UC). A1c, Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID), Diabetes Self-Efficacy (DES), Recommended Food Score (RFS), Physical Activity (PA), and medication intensification (an increase in number of medication classes or insulin start) were evaluated at baseline and at approximately 6 month intervals for the following year using linear mixed models.
Results: Compared to UC, IE resulted in sustained improved DES and PAID scores in the long-term (DES, +0.11, p=.03 and PAID, -2.94, p=.04), but not significant RFS or PA long-term change. IE resulted in a short-term A1c reduction of .25% (p=.03) and odds ratio (OR) of 1.83 (1.05-3.17) for achieving an A1c < 7% compared with UC, but significant effects were not observed after 6 additional follow-up months. No differences were observed between GE and UC for short-term and long-term DES, PAID, RFS, PA, or A1c. In patients with pharmacy claims data (n=488), odds ratios of medication intensification comparing IE to UC were short-term 0.83(0.44-1.57) and long-term 0.79(0.43-1.47); comparing or GE to UC were short-term 1.22(0.66-2.26) and long-term 0.92(0.50-1.68).
Conclusions: In patients with suboptimal glycemic control, improved measures of self-efficacy and lower diabetes distress observed with IE in the short-term were sustained long-term. However, short-term improvements in glucose control, nutrition, and physical activity were not sustained. Educational interventions did not result in higher medication intensification rates. Results are consistent with most behavior change theories, and suggest greater attention to maintenance and relapse, possibly from continued ongoing support from educators, may be needed to sustain improvements in healthy behaviors and glucose control.