Background: Children with diabetes are advised to see their diabetes team every 3 months. While we encourage patients and caregivers to communicate between visits, there is limited evidence to support this recommendation. Therefore, we assessed patterns of communication between visits and whether communication frequency via phone and electronic messaging (EMs) is associated with glycemic control. We hypothesized that patients who communicate more frequently will have better glycemic control as measured by hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).
Methods: We assessed communication patterns via EMs and phone calls in children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes over a 1-year period at an urban academic pediatric diabetes center. Demographic and clinical data were extracted from the electronic medical record. The association between frequency of communication and HbA1c was analyzed using regression analysis.
Results: 122 patients were included in this analysis, of which 99 (80%) had T1D, 23 (20%) had T2D. Mean age 11.8y (SD 3.9), mean duration of diabetes 3.5y (SD 3.4), and mean HbA1c 9% (range 4.7-15%). Most patients/caregivers (101/122, 89%) communicated with the diabetes team between office visits. Communications were via phone (27%), EM (29%), or both (42%). Patients with more frequent communication had lower HbA1c values (p=0.008, β =-0.04). Method of communication was not associated with HbA1c.
Conclusions: More frequent communication with the diabetes team between visits is associated with improved glycemic control, irrespective of the method of communication. Thus, communication with patients should be tailored to their preference.
K. Abel: None. R. Verma: None. C.G. Thomas: None. M. West: None. C. Glancey: None. J. Tracey: None. K. Arcara: None. S.N. Magge: None. R. Wolf: None.