Background: While health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is gaining recognition as an important patient-reported outcome, little is known about how diabetes care providers define or apply HRQoL in practice. The purpose of this study was to identify how diabetes care providers conceptualize HRQoL for youth and adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to help guide efforts to more routinely assess and intervene to improve HRQoL.

Methods: As part of a larger qualitative study on T1D-specific HRQoL, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 8 diabetes care providers (5 pediatric providers, 3 adult providers, 62.5% male) via focus groups or individually. Sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded to derive common themes.

Results: Providers identified three key components of T1D-specific HRQoL: (1) their patients’ day-to-day functioning, including the ability to engage in everyday activities and its impact on their emotional well-being; (2) their patients’ medical management, including diabetes self-management behaviors and presence of complications and hypo/hyperglycemia; and (3) the impact of T1D on their patients’ personal relationships, including the impact on the HRQoL of their parents/partners.

Conclusion: Providers described three aspects of T1D-specific HRQoL: everyday functioning, medical considerations, and interpersonal relationships. This extends the HRQoL literature from other chronic condition populations, which has not emphasized provider perceptions of HRQoL, has primarily identified medical domains such as disease-specific symptoms/complications, and provides little understanding of HRQoL of other family members. Together with findings about patient/family perspectives on HRQoL from the larger study, the current findings about how diabetes care providers conceptualize diabetes-specific HRQoL are necessary to help guide clinical processes to routinely assess and enhance HRQoL across the lifespan.


V.T. Cao: None. S.S. Eshtehardi: None. B.M. McKinney: None. B. Anderson: Advisory Panel; Self; Sanofi-Aventis. D.G. Marrero: None. D. Thompson: None. M.E. Hilliard: None.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at