Health & Well-Being-Diabetics have better outcomes with specialists

If you have Type 1 diabetes, you will have a better health outcome if you see a specialist than if you see a generalist. These findings were reported by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and School of Medicine in the April issue of Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Dia-betes Association.

"Our research shows that specialist care among individuals with Type 1 diabetes is associated with lower blood sugar levels and with greater participation in self-care practices, such as glucose testing and multiple insulin injections," says Trevor J. Orchard, MD, professor of epidemiology at GSPH and senior author of the article. One reason for the difference, according to investigators, may be that the care delivered by diabetic specialists is more in line with practice guidelines established by the American Diabetes Association.

"This is the first community care-based study to show that specialist care results in better outcomes for individuals with Type 1 diabetes," notes resear-cher Janice Zgibor, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh division of endocrinology and metabolism.

Researchers examined health care, sociodemographic characteristics and glycemic control information from 429 patients with Type 1 diabetes. Those reporting specialist care had significantly lower blood glucose levels over those reporting generalist care: 9.7% vs. 10.3%. Also, they were more likely to know about various diagnostic tests related to diabetes and to participate in health care practices.