The aim of this observational study was to assess mortality of patients with type 2 diabetes by type of healthcare delivery system, i.e. through specialist centers or generalist doctors, or integrated care.
The study was conducted at the “Vicentino Ovest” Local Health District in the Veneto Region (north-eastern Italy) from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010. Patients with diabetes (≥20 years old) were identified using different public health databases. They were grouped as: patients followed up by specialists at diabetes clinics (DS); patients seen only by their own general practitioner (GP); and patients receiving integrated care (DS-GP). Cox's regression analysis was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios for available potential predictors of death by level of care.
The crude mortality rate was highest in the GP group (26.1 per 1000 person-years), the difference being minimal when compared with the DS group (21.7 per 1000 person-years) and more marked when compared with the DS-GP group (8.8 per 1000 person-years). Patients followed up by their GPs had a 2.7 adjusted RR for mortality by comparison with the DS-GP group.
The findings of the present study could demonstrate that it is safe and cost-effective, after a first specialist assessment at a diabetes service, for low-risk diabetic patients to be managed by family physicians as part of a coordinated care approach, based on the specialist's clinical recommendations; GPs can subsequently refer patients to a specialist whenever warranted by their clinical condition.
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Published online: April 17, 2014
Accepted: March 19, 2014
Received in revised form: March 13, 2014
Received: September 25, 2013
© 2014 Primary Care Diabetes Europe. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.