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A prospective randomized controlled study of a virtual clinic integrating primary and specialist care for patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-776
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date17 Nov 2015
Accepted/In press30 Sep 2015
E-pub ahead of print17 Nov 2015
PublishedJun 2016

King's Authors


Aims: To investigate the effectiveness of a diabetes virtual clinic to enhance diabetes in primary care by developing clinical management plans for patients with suboptimal metabolic control and/or case complexity. Methods: A prospective study with randomized allocation to virtual clinic or usual care. Patients with Type 2 diabetes (n = 208) were recruited from six general practices in South London. The primary outcome for the study was glycaemic control, secondary outcomes included: lipids, blood pressure, weight (kg and BMI) and renal function (eGFR). Data were collected from participants' records at baseline and 12 months. We also considered process measures including therapy optimization. Results: The 12-month data show equivalence between the virtual clinic and control groups for glycaemic control with both achieving clinically significant reductions in HbA1c of 8 mmol/mol (0.6 ± 1.7%) and 10 mmol/mol (0.8 ± 1.9%), respectively (P = 0.4). The virtual clinic group showed superiority over the intervention group for blood pressure control with a mean reduction in systolic blood pressure of 6 ± 16 mmHg compared with an increased of 2 ± 18 mmHg in the control group (P = 0.008). There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of cholesterol, weight and renal function. Process measures showed an increased level of therapy adjustment in the virtual clinic group. Conclusion: The virtual clinic model explored in this study showed a clinically important improvement in glycaemic control. Although this improvement was not superior to that observed in the control participants, this might be attributable to the systemic impact of the virtual clinic on the practice as a whole.

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