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Diabetes Care. 2011 Jan;34(1):8-13. doi: 10.2337/dc10-1351. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Diabetes preventive services and policy implications in the U.S.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



To investigate whether the patient or physician practice characteristics predict the use of diabetes preventive care services.


This was a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of 27,169 adult ambulatory care visits, using the 2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data. The outcome variable is whether any preventive care services, defined as diagnostic tests (glucose, urinalysis, A1C, and blood pressure) or patient education (diet/nutrition, exercise, and stress management), were ordered/provided. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of diabetes preventive care services, controlling for patient and physician practice characteristics. All analyses were adjusted for the complex survey design and analytic weights.


Compared with people without diabetes, diabetic patients were older (63 vs. 53 years; P < 0.01) and were more likely to be nonwhite and covered by Medicare insurance. In multivariate analyses, younger patients and the availability of primary care physicians, electronic medical records, and on-site laboratory tests were associated with more effective preventive care services (P < 0.05). If physician compensation relied on productivity, preventive care services were less likely (odds ratio 0.4 [95% CI 0.27-0.82 for men and 0.26-0.81 for women]). Although the patterns of patient education and diagnostic testing were similar, the provision of patient education was less likely than that of diagnostic testing.


Primary care physicians and practice features seem to steer diabetes preventive services. Given the time constraints of physicians, strategies to strengthen structural capabilities of primary care practices and enhance partnerships with public health systems on diabetic patient education are recommended.

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