Primary Care Cluster RCT to Increase Diabetes Prevention Program Referrals

James W. Keck, Karen L. Roper, Laura B. Hieronymus, Alisha R. Thomas, Zhengyuan Huang, Philip M. Westgate, John L. Fowlkes, Roberto Cardarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: The Diabetes Prevention Program, an intensive lifestyle change program, effectively reduces the risk of progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes but is underutilized. An implementation study using formative research was undertaken to increase Diabetes Prevention Program referrals at a primary care clinic. Study design: A pragmatic, cluster randomized, mixed-methods study. Setting/particpants: Clusters were teams of primary care clinicians from 2 primary care clinics. The 3 intervention clusters had 8–11 clinicians, and the 3 control clusters had 7–20 clinicians. Intervention: Implementation activities occurred from December 2017 to February 2019. The activities included targeted clinician education, a prediabetes clinician champion, and a custom electronic health record report identifying patients with prediabetes. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was referral of patients with prediabetes to the institutional Diabetes Prevention Program. Study data, including patient demographic and clinical variables, came from electronic health record. Interviews with clinicians evaluated the implementation strategies. Generalized estimating equation analyses that accounted for multiple levels of correlation and interview content analysis occurred in 2019. Results: Study clinicians cared for 2,992 patients with a prediabetes diagnosis or HbA1c indicative of prediabetes (5.7%–6.4%). Clinicians in the intervention clusters referred 6.9% (87 of 1,262) of patients with prediabetes to the Diabetes Prevention Program and those in the control clusters referred 1.5% (26 of 1,730). When adjusted for patient age, sex, race, HbA1c value, HbA1c test location, and insurance type, intervention clinicians had 3.85 (95% CI=0.40, 36.78) greater odds of referring a patient with prediabetes to the Diabetes Prevention Program. The 11 interviewed intervention clinicians had mixed opinions about the utility of the interventions, reporting the prediabetes clinic champion (n=7, 64%) and educational presentations (n=6, 55%) as most helpful. Conclusions: Intervention clinicians were more likely to make Diabetes Prevention Program referrals; however, the study lacked power to achieve statistical significance. Clinician interviews suggested that intervention components that triggered Diabetes Prevention Program referrals varied among clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
JWK, KLR, ART, LBH, received intramural grant support from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine . The University of Kentucky College of Medicine had no role in the study design; data collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; or the decision to submit the report for publication.

Funding Information:
This publication was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences , NIH , through Grant UL1TR001998 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Journal of Preventive Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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