Quantifying Variation in Treatment Utilization for Type 2 Diabetes Across Five Major University of California Health Systems
Research Design: Retrospective analysis using deidentified Electronic Health Records (EHRs; 2014-2019) including 97,231 type 2 diabetes patients from 1,003 UC-affiliated clinical settings. Significant differences between health systems and individual providers were identified using binomial probabilities with cohort matching.
Results: Our analysis reveals statistically different treatment utilization patterns not only between health systems but also among individual providers within health systems. We identified 21 differences among health systems, and 29 differences among individual providers within these health systems, with respect to treatment intensifications within existing guidelines on top of either metformin monotherapy or dual therapy with metformin and a sulfonylurea. Next, we identified variation for medications within the same class (e.g., glipizide vs. glyburide among sulfonylureas), with 33 differences among health systems and 86 among individual providers. Finally, we identified two health systems and 55 individual providers that more frequently utilized medications with known cardioprotective benefits for patients with high cardiovascular disease risk, but also one health system and 8 providers who prescribed such medications less frequently for these patients.
Conclusions: Our study utilized cohort matching techniques to highlight real-world variation in care between health systems and individual providers. This demonstrates the power of EHRs to quantify differences in treatment utilization, a necessary step towards standardizing precision care for large populations.