To determine whether a short intervention to enhance patient information seeking and decision making during hospitalization results in improved metabolic control and functional status in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Research Design and Methods

A randomized clinical trial was conducted in which control patients received a comprehensive 3-day evaluation and educational program, whereas experimental patients received a 45-min patient activation intervention and a 1-h self-administered booster in addition to the program. Metabolic control and functional status were measured at baseline and 4 mo postdischarge.


During their discharge discussions, experimental patients asked significantly more questions than control patients (7.4 vs. 3.0, P > .001) and 4 mo later reported significantly fewer physical limitations in activities of daily living than the control group (P = 0.02). Improvement in metabolic control was statistically significant only for experimental patients (P = 0.02), although their glycosylated hemoglobin levels were not significantly lower than control patients' at follow-up. The intervention did not diminish physician satisfaction with patient interactions, although it may have increased physician frustration with responsibilities that competed with patient care.


These results suggest that the addition of a patient activation intervention to a comprehensive diabetes management program may substantially enhance physical functioning among adults with diabetes mellitus.

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