The American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes advocate a person-centered approach to enhance patient engagement in self-care activities. To that purpose, people with diabetes need adequate diabetes knowledge, motivation, skills and confidence. These prerequisites are captured by the concept ‘patient activation’. The Dutch Diabetes Federation implemented a person-centered consultation model for the annual diabetes review. To assess its relationship with patient activation, we measured the change in patient activation, and in person and disease-related factors in people with type 2 diabetes after their second person-centered annual review.
Observational study in 47 primary care practices and six outpatient hospital clinics. Follow-up: 1 year. From 2.617 people with diabetes and capable of completing questionnaires (no additional exclusion criteria) 1.487 (56.8%) participated, 1366 with type 2 diabetes. Main outcome: patient activation (13-item Patient Activation Measure, score 0–100). Before the first and after the second review, participants completed questionnaires. Medical data were retrieved from electronic records. We performed a repeated measure analysis using a linear mixed model in 1299 participants, who completed the first set of questionnaires.
In 1299 participants (41.6% female, mean age 66 years, median diabetes duration 10 years, median glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) 6.8%/51 mmol/mol), the mean baseline activation level was 58.9 (SD 11.7). Independent of actual diabetes care, activation levels increased 1.53 units (95% CI 0.67 to 2.39, p=0.001). Several diabetes perceptions improved significantly; diabetes distress level decreased significantly. Body mass index (−0.22, 95% CI −0.33 to −0.10, p<0.001) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (−2.71 mg/dL, 95% CI −4.64 to −0.77, p=0.004) decreased, HbA1c increased 0.08% (95% CI 0.03 to 0.12) (p=0.001).
Person-centered diabetes care was associated with a slightly higher patient activation level, improved diabetes perception and small improvements in clinical outcomes. Person-centered care may enhance patient engagement, but one should not expect substantial improvement in patient outcomes in the short term.