To compare outpatient screening of diabetic patients for nephropathy and measurement of glycosylated hemoglobin (GHb) levels to published American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines.
We reviewed charts from 157 diabetic patients followed for 27 months at the University of Washington's primary care clinics. The number of screening urinalyses, 24-h urine measurements, and GHb measurements were obtained. From these values, the frequency of screening tests, normalized by patient-year, could be compared with the ADA guidelines.
Forty-two percent of the patients received at least one urinalysis, and 5% had 24-h urine measurements. There were 0.48 urinalyses and 0.05 24-h urine measurements per patient-year. Of 14 type I diabetes patients, 5 had a urinalysis and 1 received a 24-h urine measurement. At least one GHb was measured for 85% of patients, and there were 1.66 GHb measurements per patient-year. Only 29% of patients received GHb concentrations as recommended by ADA guidelines.
Diabetic patients at this institution are not screened for nephropathy and do not receive GHb measurements according to the ADA guidelines. Because of recent advancements in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy and the results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), further efforts are needed for educating primary care physicians about standards of care of patients with diabetes.