Patient Markers of Successful Diabetes Management
Methods. A secondary analysis of semi-structured interviews was completed with 89 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Participants had a recent diabetes-related emergency department (ED) visits or hospitalization or were primary care patients with an A1C >7.5%. Interviews were conducted to saturation. Demographic data were collected via self-report and electronic medical records. Interviews were analyzed using conventional content analysis. This analysis focused on patient perceptions of successful management coded to “measuring management success.”
Results. Although most participants cited A1C or blood glucose as a marker of successful diabetes management, they had varied understanding of these metrics. Most used a combination of targets from the following categories: 1) A1C, blood glucose, and numbers; 2) engagement in medical care; 3) taking medication and medication types; 4) symptoms; 5) diet, exercise, and weight; and 6) stress management and social support.
Conclusion. Individuals not meeting glycemic goals and/or with recent diabetes-related ED visits or hospitalizations had varied understanding of A1C and blood glucose targets. They use multiple additional markers of successful management and had a desire for management discussions that incorporate these markers. These measures should be incorporated into their care plans along with clinical targets.