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Fam Pract. 2004 Feb;21(1):39-45.

The North Dublin randomized controlled trial of structured diabetes shared care.

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Department of General Practice, UCD, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



A new diabetes shared care service was introduced in North Dublin. It was designed as a randomized controlled trial with a complex intervention comprising education of participating practitioners, the introduction of a community-based diabetes nurse specialist, local agreement on clinical protocols and structured communication across the primary-secondary care interface.


Our aim was to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of a structured diabetes shared care service in a mixed health care system and to analyse the impact on total patient care.


A Cluster randomized controlled trial lasting 18 months was carried out in 183 patients with type 2 diabetes from 30 general practices in North Dublin. Biophysical outcomes (HbA1c, blood pressure, body mass index), psychosocial measures (smoking status and Diabetes Clinic Treatment Satisfaction and Diabetes Well-being scores) and process outcomes were collected.


There were significant improvements in diabetes care delivery and in psychosocial outcomes, but no significant improvements in biomedical outcomes. Process data collection revealed a significant increase in diabetes care-related activity for participating patients with an increase in structured annual reviews and fewer patients defaulting from care. There were also significant improvements in information exchange between primary and secondary care.


Structured diabetes shared care, in a mixed health care system, can produce significant improvements in diabetes care delivery and in psychosocial outcomes for patients, with improved information exchange across the primary-secondary care interface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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