There is a pressing need for brief practical interventions that address diabetes management. Using a randomized design, we evaluated a medical office-based intervention focused on behavioral issues relevant to dietary self-management.
There were 206 adult diabetes patients randomized to usual care or brief intervention, which consisted of touchscreen computer-assisted assessment to provide immediate feedback on key barriers to dietary self-management, and goal setting and problem-solving counseling for patients. Follow-up components to the single session intervention included phone calls and interactive video or videotape instruction as needed.
Multivariate analyses of covariance revealed that the brief intervention produced greater improvements than usual care on a number of measures of dietary behavior (e.g., fewer calories from saturated fat, fewer high-fat eating habits and behaviors) at the 3-month follow-up. There were also significant differences favoring intervention on changes in serum cholesterol levels and patient satisfaction but not on glycosylated hemoglobin. The intervention effects were relatively robust across a variety of patient characteristics, the two participating physicians, and intervention staff members.
If the long-term results are equally positive and generalize to other setting, this intervention could provide a prototype for a feasible cost-effective way to integrate patient views and behavioral management into office-based care for diabetes.