Introduction of a community health worker diabetes coach improved glycemic control in an urban primary care clinic

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The burden of diabetes is higher in urban areas and among racial and ethnic minorities. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of extending a diabetes intervention program (DIP) by engaging a team, including a community health worker (CHW), to provide care for patients to meet glycemic control, specifically in a predominantly urban, minority patient population. The DIP enrolled diabetic patients from an internal medicine clinic. A CHW facilitated the collection of glucose meter readings. The CHW coached patients on glycemic control while the CHW's registered nurse partner titrated the patient's recommended insulin dose. Subsequent HbA1c values for participants were compared to those seen at the same clinic who were not enrolled. The DIP was deployed for nine months. One hundred forty-four patients were enrolled in the DIP and 348 patients constituted the comparator group. Ninety-three DIP participants had pre- and post-intervention HbA1c values and were compared to 348 non-DIP participants. Propensity score weighted adjusted analyses suggest that participants were more likely to reduce their HbA1c values by at least 1.0% and have HbA1c values of less than 8.0% (64 mmol/mol) than non-participants (adjusted odds ratio = aOR = 1.47, 95% CI 1.26-1.71, and aOR = 1.23, 95% CI 1.06-1.43, respectively). CHW coaches as part of a team in a clinical setting improved glycemic control in a predominantly urban, minority patient population.

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