Can community retail pharmacist and diabetes expert support facilitate insulin initiation by family physicians? Results of the AIM@GP randomized controlled trial

Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, 245-100 Collip Circle, London, Ontario, N6G 4X8, Canada. .
BMC Health Services Research (Impact Factor: 1.71). 02/2013; 13(1):71. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-71
Source: PubMed


Limited evidence exists on the effectiveness of external diabetes support provided by diabetes specialists and community retail pharmacists to facilitate insulin-prescribing in family practice.
A stratified, parallel group, randomized control study was conducted in 15 sites across Canada. Family physicians received insulin initiation/titration education, a physician-specific 'report card' on the characteristics of their type 2 diabetes (T2DM) population, and a registry of insulin-eligible patients at a workshop. Intervention physicians in addition received: (1) diabetes specialist/educator consultation support (active diabetes specialist/educator consultation support for 2 months [the educator initiated contact every 2 weeks] and passive consultation support for 10 months [family physician initiated as needed]); and (2) community retail pharmacist support (option to refer patients to the pharmacist(s) for a 1-hour insulin-initiation session). The primary outcome was the insulin prescribing rate (IPR) per physician defined as the number of insulin starts of insulin-eligible patients during the 12-month strategy.
Consenting, eligible physicians (n = 151) participated with 15 specialist sites and 107 community pharmacists providing the intervention. Most physicians were male (74%), and had an average of 81 patients with T2DM. Few (9%) routinely initiated patients on insulin. Physicians were randomly allocated to usual care (n = 78) or the intervention (n = 73). Intervention physicians had a mean (SE) IPR of 2.28 (0.27) compared to 2.29 (0.25) for control physicians, with an estimated adjusted RR (95% CI) of 0.99 (0.80 to 1.24), p = 0.96.
An insulin support program utilizing diabetes experts and community retail pharmacists to enhance insulin prescribing in family practice was not successful. Too few physicians are appropriately intensifying diabetes management through insulin initiation, and aggressive therapeutic treatment is lacking. NCT00593489.

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    • "GPs are more reluctant than specialists to start insulin [25], and up-titrating to achieve glycaemic targets is also a challenge. A Canadian trial utilising community pharmacists and specialist nurses to support general practice-based insulin initiation did not show any improvement in insulin prescribing rates or in glycaemia [26]. An intensive educational intervention for GPs and PNs in the UK has been evaluated using clinical audit data from 115 practices; it showed significantly improved glycaemic control at six months in patients who started insulin, although further improvement was not observed over 36 months [27]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Most people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) have glycaemic levels outside of target. Insulin is effective in improving glycaemia and most people with T2D eventually need this. Despite this, transition to insulin therapy is often delayed in primary care. To develop a model of care (Stepping Up) for insulin initiation in routine diabetes care in Australian general practice. To evaluate the model for feasibility of integration within routine general practice care. Drawing on qualitative work and normalisation process theory, we developed a model of care that included clarification of roles, in-practice systems and simple clinical tools. The model was introduced in an educational and practice system change intervention for general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs). Five practices (seven GPs and five PNs) and 18 patients formed the feasibility study. Evaluation at 3 and 12 months explored experiences of GPs, PNs and patients. Fourteen patients commenced insulin, with average HbA1c falling from 8.4% (68.3 mmol/mol) to 7.5% (58.5 mmol/mol) at 3 months. Qualitative evaluation highlighted how the model of care supported integration of the technical work of insulin initiation within ongoing generalist GP care. Ensuring peer support for patients and issues of clinical accountability and flexibility, managing time and resources were highlighted as important. The Stepping Up model allowed technical care to be embedded within generalist whole-person care, supported clinicians and practice system to overcome clinical inertia and supported patients to make the timely transition to insulin. Testing of the model's effectiveness is now underway.
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