Immediate feedback of HbA1c levels improves glycemic control in type 1 and insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients.
OBJECTIVE: Accurate and reliable HbA1c results can be obtained at the time of the office visit by using benchtop analyzers. We tested the hypothesis that immediately available HbA1c results could improve glycemic control by changing physician or patient behavior or both. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 201 type 1 and insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients attending an academic diabetes center. HbA1c levels, changes in insulin therapy, and use of health care resources were assessed during a 12-month follow-up period. RESULTS: HbA1c levels decreased significantly at 6 and 12 months in the immediate assay group (-0.57 +/- 1.44 and -0.40 +/- 1.65%, respectively; P < 0.01) but did not change in the control group (-0.11 +/- 0.79 and -0.19 +/- 1.16%, respectively; NS). The changes were similar for both type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients. There were no differences in the rates of hypoglycemic events or use of health care resources. CONCLUSIONS: In the setting of a controlled randomized trial, the immediate feedback of HbA1c results at the time of patient encounters resulted in a significant improvement of glycemic control at 6-month follow-up and persisted for the 12-month study. The introduction of this assay was positively received by both patients and physicians.