Is the number of documented diabetes process-of-care indicators associated with cardiometabolic risk factor levels, patient satisfaction, or self-rated quality of diabetes care? The Translating Research into Action for Diabetes (TRIAD) study

Ronald T Ackermann, Theodore J Thompson, Joseph V Selby, Monika M Safford, Mark Stevens, Arleen F Brown, K M Venkat Narayan et al.
Diabetes Care 2006, 29 (9): 2108-13

OBJECTIVE: Simple process-of-care indicators are commonly recommended to assess and compare quality of diabetes care across health plans. We sought to determine whether variation in the number of simple diabetes processes of care across provider groups is associated with variation in other quality indicators, including cardiometabolic risk factor levels, patient satisfaction with care, or patient-rated quality of care.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We used cross-sectional survey and chart audit data for 8,733 patients with diabetes who received care from 68 provider groups nested in 10 health plans that participated in the Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes study. Analyses using hierarchical regression models assessed associations of the mean number of seven simple process measures with each of the following: HbA(1c) (A1C), systolic blood pressure (SBP), HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, patient satisfaction with care, and patient-rated quality of care.

RESULTS: After adjusting for case-mix differences across groups and plans, an average of one additional documented process of care for each patient in a group or plan was associated with significantly lower mean LDL cholesterol levels (-4.51 mg/dl [95% CI 1.46-7.58]) but not with A1C, SBP, or HDL cholesterol levels. The number of care processes documented was associated with patient satisfaction measures and self-rated quality of diabetes care.

CONCLUSIONS: Variation in the number of simple process-of-care indicators across provider groups or health plans is associated with differences in patient-centered measures of quality, but assessment of the quality of cardiometabolic risk factor control will require more advanced clinical performance indicators.

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