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J Natl Med Assoc. 2004 Oct;96(10):1310-21.

Quality care improvement program in a community-based participatory research project: example of Project DIRECT.

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Morehouse School of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Atlanta, GA 30310-1495, USA.


A continuous quality care improvement program (CQIP) was built into Project DIRECT (Diabetes Interventions Reaching and Educating Communities Together) to improve providers' patterns of diabetes care and patients' glycemic control. Project DIRECT consisted of a comprehensive program aimed at reducing the burden of diabetes in the vulnerable high-risk African-American population of southeast Raleigh, NC. Forty-seven providers caring for this target population of adult diabetes patients were included in this quasi-experimental study. At the initial session, providers learned about the CQIP components, completed a planning worksheet, and chose a CQIP coordinator. Educational events included continuing education in practices and through conferences by experts, and guideline distribution. Follow-up was accomplished through phone calls and visits. Effectiveness was measured by a change in prevalence of selected patterns of care abstracted from 1,006 medical charts. Appropriate statistical methods were used to account for the cluster design and repeated measures. At the fourth follow-up year, approximately 40% of providers still participated in the program. Among the providers who stayed in the program for the whole study period, most selected quality care patterns showed significant upward trends. Glycemic control indicators did not change, however, despite an increased number of hemoglobin A1c tests per year. A diabetes CQI program can be effectively implemented in a community setting. Improved performance measures were not associated with improved outcomes. These results suggest that a patient-centered component should reinforce the provider-centered component.

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