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Frequent doctor visits benefits patients with diabetes
Date:9/27/2011

BOSTON, MAThe risk for diabetes complications, such as heart attack and stroke, increases with high blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Reducing risk means reducing these values to ideal levels. According to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), achieving ideal levels may be as simple as seeing your doctor. They found that frequent doctor-patient encounters are associated with faster achievement of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol treatment goals. The research will be published in the September 26, 2011, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Apart from monitoring a patient's hemoglobin A1C (a type of blood glucose measurement) levels every three months, there are no current recommendations in diabetes care guidelines indicating how often doctors should see their patients. These research findings may provide an answer, suggesting that encounters every two weeks may be appropriate for those whose diabetes are severely uncontrolled.

Researchers looked at the electronic medical records (EMRs) of 26,496 patients with type 2 diabetes who had at least one instance of high hemoglobin A1C, blood pressure or LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) values. A doctor-patient encounter was defined as any note made in the EMR, which included face-to-face encounters, as well as remote encounters such as via telephone. All patients in the study were seen by primary care doctors for at least two years from January 2000 to January 2009.

Researchers evaluated the length of time it took for high levels of hemoglobin A1C, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol to decrease to reach treatment goals. They also determined the mean doctor-patient encounter intervals within this time span.

Patients who saw their doctor every 1𔃀 weeks achieved treatment goals sooner than those who saw their doctor every 3𔃄 months. Patients who saw their doctors every 1𔃀 weeks had a median time of 4.4 months (non-insuli
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Contact: Holly Brown-Ayers
hbrown-ayers@partners.org
617-534-1603
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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