Researchers from various prominent health institutions, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Emory University of the US, have said that a new Multi-Component Diabetes Quality Improvement (QI) initiative can help patients with diabetes double their likelihood of controlling the disease in comparison with the usual doctor care.
Led by researchers at the Public Health Foundation of India, AIIMS, and Emory University (Atlanta, USA), the initiative, comprising non-physician care coordinators and decision-support electronic health records, is a result of years of trial at ten clinical centres in India and Pakistan.
According to the joint statement by the organisations, this was the first trial of comprehensive diabetes management in a low and middle-income country setting.
"This intervention doesn't require new or expensive drugs, but instead enhances patients' likelihood of managing their disease on their own by providing individualized support and enhancing the physician's likelihood of being responsive," said the statement.
It said that the intervention yielded sizeable improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol profiles of participants.
"By better controlling their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, this study offers hope of reducing onset of diabetes complications like heart disease, eye disease, kidney failure, and amputations which are very common in people with diabetes in South Asia," said the statement.
Of the 415 million people with diabetes worldwide, 75 per cent live in low/middle-income countries. India alone is home to the second highest number of people with diabetes [nearly 70 million] worldwide.
According to researchers, these findings are relevant for the US, India, Pakistan, and many other countries, low-, middle-, and high-income countries alike where achievement of diabetes care goals is sub-optimal and where health disparities are common.
The study has been published in the July 12 edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, a health journal.
Nikhil Tandon, Professor and Head, Department of Endocrinology, AIIMS, said: "Approximately 1,150 patients with diabetes and poor cardio metabolic profiles were randomly assigned to a multi-component QI strategy or usual care for two and a half years.
Results suggested that patients in the QI strategy group were twice as likely to achieve combined diabetes care goals and larger reductions for each risk factor compared with usual care."
"This was the first trial of comprehensive diabetes management in a low and middle-income country setting," explained Tandon adding that the intervention doesn't require new or expensive drugs, but instead it enhances a patient's likelihood of managing their health condition on their own by providing individualised support.