Management of type 2 diabetes in the primary care setting: A practice-based research network study

Stephen J. Spann, Paul A. Nutting, James M. Galliher, Kevin A. Peterson, Valory N. Pavlik, L. Miriam Dickinson, Robert J. Volk

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125 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: We wanted to describe how primary care clinicians care for patients with type 2 diabetes. METHODS: We undertook a cross-sectional study of 95 primary care clinicians and 822 of their established patients with type 2 diabetes from 4 practice-based, primary care research networks in the United States. Clinicians were surveyed about their training and practice. Patients completed a self-administered questionnaire about their care, and medical records were reviewed for complications, treatment, and diabetes-control indicators. RESULTS: Participating clinicians (average age, 45.7 years) saw an average of 32.6 adult patients with diabetes per month. Patients (average age, 59.7 years) reported a mean duration of diabetes of 9.1 years, with 34.3% having had the disease more than 10 years. Nearly one half (47.5%) of the patients had at least 1 diabetes-related complication, and 60.8% reported a body mass index greater than 30. Mean glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level was 7.6% (SD 1.73), and 40.5% of patients had values < 7%. Only 35.3% of patients had adequate blood pressure control (< 130/85 mm Hg), and only 43.7% had low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels < 100 mg/dL. Only 7.0% of patients met all 3 control targets. Multilevel models showed that patient ethnicity, practice type, involvement of midlevel clinicians, and treatment were associated with HbA1c level; patient age, education level, and practice type were associated with blood pressure control; and patient ethnicity was associated with LDL-C control. CONCLUSIONS: Only modest numbers of patients achieve established targets of diabetes control. Reengineering primary care practice may be necessary to substantially improve care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes mellitus, type 2
  • Practice-based research
  • Primary health care


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