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      Effectiveness of the introduction of a Chronic Care Model-based program for type 2 diabetes in Belgium

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          During a four-year action research project (2003-2007), a program targeting all type 2 diabetes patients was implemented in a well-defined geographical region in Belgium. The implementation of the program resulted in an increase of the overall Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (ACIC) score from 1.45 in 2003 to 5.5 in 2007. The aim of the follow-up study in 2008 was to assess the effect of the implementation of Chronic Care Model (CCM) elements on the quality of diabetes care in a country where the efforts to adapt primary care to a more chronic care oriented system are still at a starting point.


          A quasi-experimental study design involving a control region with comparable geographical and socio-economic characteristics and health care facilities was used to evaluate the effect of the intervention in the region. In collaboration with the InterMutualistic Agency (IMA) and the laboratories from both regions a research database was set up. Study cohorts in both regions were defined by using administrative data from the Sickness Funds and selected from the research database. A set of nine quality indicators was defined based on current scientific evidence. Data were analysed by an institution experienced in longitudinal data analysis.


          In total 4,174 type 2 diabetes patients were selected from the research database; 2,425 patients (52.9% women) with a mean age of 67.5 from the intervention region and 1,749 patients (55.7% women) with a mean age of 67.4 from the control region. At the end of the intervention period, improvements were observed in five of the nine defined quality indicators in the intervention region, three of which (HbA1c assessment, statin therapy, cholesterol target) improved significantly more than in the control region. Mean HbA1c improved significantly in the intervention region (7.55 to 7.06%), but this evolution did not differ significantly (p = 0.4207) from the one in the control region (7.44 to 6.90%). The improvement in lipid control was significantly higher (p = 0.0021) in the intervention region (total cholesterol 199.07 to 173 mg/dl) than in the control region (199.44 to 180.60 mg/dl). The systematic assessment of long-term diabetes complications remained insufficient. In 2006 only 26% of the patients had their urine tested for micro-albuminuria and only 36% had consulted an ophthalmologist.


          Although the overall ACIC score increased from 1.45 to 5.5, the improvement in the quality of diabetes care was moderate. Further improvements are needed in the CCM components delivery system design and clinical information systems. The regional networks, as they are financed now by the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI), are an opportunity to explore how this can be achieved in consultation with the GPs. But it is clear that, simultaneously, action is needed on the health system level to realize the installation of an accurate quality monitoring system and the necessary preconditions for chronic care delivery in primary care (patient registration, staff support, IT support).

          Trial Registration

          Trial registration number: Identifier: NCT00824499

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          Most cited references 11

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          Evidence on the Chronic Care Model in the new millennium.

          Developed more than a decade ago, the Chronic Care Model (CCM) is a widely adopted approach to improving ambulatory care that has guided clinical quality initiatives in the United States and around the world. We examine the evidence of the CCM's effectiveness by reviewing articles published since 2000 that used one of five key CCM papers as a reference. Accumulated evidence appears to support the CCM as an integrated framework to guide practice redesign. Although work remains to be done in areas such as cost-effectiveness, these studies suggest that redesigning care using the CCM leads to improved patient care and better health outcomes.
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            Organizational interventions to implement improvements in patient care: a structured review of reviews

            Background Changing the organization of patient care should contribute to improved patient outcomes as functioning of clinical teams and organizational structures are important enablers for improvement. Objective To provide an overview of the research evidence on effects of organizational strategies to implement improvements in patient care. Design Structured review of published reviews of rigorous evaluations. Data sources Published reviews of studies on organizational interventions. Review methods Searches were conducted in two data-bases (Pubmed, Cochrane Library) and in selected journals. Reviews were included, if these were based on a systematic search, focused on rigorous evaluations of organizational changes, and were published between 1995 and 2003. Two investigators independently extracted information from the reviews regarding their clinical focus, methodological quality and main quantitative findings. Results A total of 36 reviews were included, but not all were high-quality reviews. The reviews were too heterogeneous for quantitative synthesis. None of the strategies produced consistent effects. Professional performance was generally improved by revision of professional roles and computer systems for knowledge management. Patient outcomes was generally improved by multidisciplinary teams, integrated care services, and computer systems. Cost savings were reported from integrated care services. The benefits of quality management remained uncertain. Conclusion There is a growing evidence base of rigorous evaluations of organizational strategies, but the evidence underlying some strategies is limited and for no strategy can the effects be predicted with high certainty.
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              GPs' perspectives of type 2 diabetes patients' adherence to treatment: A qualitative analysis of barriers and solutions

              Background The problem of poor compliance/adherence to prescribed treatments is very complex. Health professionals are rarely being asked how they handle the patient's (poor) therapy compliance/adherence. In this study, we examine explicitly the physicians' expectations of their diabetes patients' compliance/adherence. The objectives of our study were: (1) to elicit problems physicians encounter with type 2 diabetes patients' adherence to treatment recommendations; (2) to search for solutions and (3) to discover escape mechanisms in case of frustration. Methods In a descriptive qualitative study, we explored the thoughts and feelings of general practitioners (GPs) on patients' compliance/adherence. Forty interested GPs could be recruited for focus group participation. Five open ended questions were derived on the one hand from a similar qualitative study on compliance/adherence in patients living with type 2 diabetes and on the other hand from the results of a comprehensive review of recent literature on compliance/adherence. A well-trained diabetes nurse guided the GPs through the focus group sessions while an observer was attentive for non-verbal communication and interactions between participants. All focus groups were audio taped and transcribed for content analysis. Two researchers independently performed the initial coding. A first draft with results was sent to all participants for agreement on content and comprehensiveness. Results General practitioners experience problems with the patient's deficient knowledge and the fact they minimize the consequences of having and living with diabetes. It appears that great confidence in modern medical science does not stimulate many changes in life style. Doctors tend to be frustrated because their patients do not achieve the common Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) objectives, i.e. on health behavior and metabolic control. Relevant solutions, derived from qualitative studies, for better compliance/adherence seem to be communication, tailored and shared care. GPs felt that a structured consultation and follow-up in a multidisciplinary team might help to increase compliance/adherence. It was recognized that the GP's efforts do not always meet the patients' health expectations. This initiates GPs' frustration and leads to a paternalistic attitude, which may induce anxiety in the patient. GPs often assume that the best methods to increase compliance/adherence are shocking the patients, putting pressure on them and threatening to refer them to hospital. Conclusion GPs identified a number of problems with compliance/adherence and suggested solutions to improve it. GPs need communication skills to cope with patients' expectations and evidence based goals in a tailored approach to diabetes care.

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central
                14 July 2010
                : 10
                : 207
                [1 ]Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
                [2 ]Department of General Practice, Interdisciplinary Healthcare and Geriatrics, Antwerp University, Antwerp, Belgium
                [3 ]Department of Endocrinology, OLV-Hospital, Aalst, Belgium
                [4 ]Leuven Statistics Research Centre, Leuven University, Belgium
                Copyright ©2010 Sunaert et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Health & Social care


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