Primary care docs doing their jobs for diabetics, study finds

A normal medical visit could have you meeting with a variety of different people.

Whether it's a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant, care often involves many people.

But for diabetics, a recent study found that visits with their regular primary care doctors were what created the most success in their treatment. Dr. Alexander Turchin, a physician and researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital, explains:

"We found that primary care physicians provide better care to diabetes patients when compared to other providers in a primary care setting because they were more likely to alter medications and consistently provide lifestyle counseling."

Better care comes from doc

The study examined the primary care received by more than 27,000 diabetes patients over the course of five years. About 83 percent of those visits happened with a primary care doctor, and the rest were with a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or a different doctor.

The two factors that seemed to define "better care," the study found, were medication intensification--getting a new medication or upping the dose on a current one--and lifestyle counseling. The likelihood that these two things would happen were much higher when a patient saw a primary care doctor than someone else.

A nod toward team work

Researchers note how these findings can help medical teams develop better team-based approaches, where all members are current on documentation of a patient's history and medical records.

"With growing focus on a team-based approach to practicing medicine, this finding should help guide the development of new models of primary care, especially in the care of diabetes patients," said Turchin.

Source: US News Health

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