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Open Access Research article

The effect of feedback to general practitioners on quality of care for people with type 2 diabetes. A systematic review of the literature

Trine Lignell Guldberg12*, Torsten Lauritzen1, Jette Kolding Kristensen1 and Peter Vedsted2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Alle 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

2 Research Unit for General Practice, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Alle 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

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BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-30

Published: 6 May 2009

Abstract

Background

There have been numerous efforts to improve and assure the quality of treatment and follow-up of people with Type 2 diabetes (PT2D) in general practice. Facilitated by the increasing usability and validity of guidelines, indicators and databases, feedback on diabetes care is a promising tool in this aspect. Our goal was to assess the effect of feedback to general practitioners (GPs) on the quality of care for PT2D based on the available literature.

Methods

Systematic review searches were conducted using October 2008 updates of Medline (Pubmed), Cochrane library and Embase databases. Additional searches in reference lists and related articles were conducted. Papers were included if published in English, performed as randomized controlled trials, studying diabetes, having general practice as setting and using feedback to GPs on diabetes care. The papers were assessed according to predefined criteria.

Results

Ten studies complied with the inclusion criteria. Feedback improved the care for PT2D, particularly process outcomes such as foot exams, eye exams and Hba1c measurements. Clinical outcomes like lowering of blood pressure, Hba1c and cholesterol levels were seen in few studies. Many process and outcome measures did not improve, while none deteriorated. Meta analysis was unfeasible due to heterogeneity of the studies included. Two studies used electronic feedback.

Conclusion

Based on this review, feedback seems a promising tool for quality improvement in diabetes care, but more research is needed, especially of electronic feedback.