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CMAJ. 2013 Sep 17;185(13):E635-44. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.130053. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Effectiveness of group medical visits for improving diabetes care: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Group medical visits, whereby health care professionals meet with groups of patients who have the same disease, have been introduced in primary care as a way to meet the increasing demand for health care delivery to patients with chronic diseases. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence on the effectiveness of such visits for patients with diabetes.

METHODS:

We conducted a systematic review of all relevant studies published from 1947 to February 2012 identified in a search of electronic databases and grey literature. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies published in English that included patients aged 16-80 years with type 1 or 2 diabetes and that had group medical visits as the intervention. These studies were assessed for methodologic quality. We included data only from the RCTs in the meta-analysis.

RESULTS:

Of the 94 studies identified, we selected 26 that met our inclusion criteria, 13 of which were RCTs. Group medical visits had a positive effect on clinical and patient-reported outcomes, with significant reductions in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c reduction -0.46%, 95% confidence interval -0.80% to -0.31%). We were unable to assess the effect of group medical visits on processes of care because of an insufficient number of RCTs that reported on this outcome.

INTERPRETATION:

Group medical visits for patients with diabetes were found to be effective in terms of reducing HbA1c. The results of our meta-analysis suggest that wider implementation of group medical visits for patients with diabetes will have a positive effect on patient outcomes.

PMID:
23939218
PMCID:
PMC3778483
DOI:
10.1503/cmaj.130053
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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