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Open Access Study protocol

Nurse-led telecoaching of people with type 2 diabetes in primary care: rationale, design and baseline data of a randomized controlled trial

Irina Odnoletkova1*, Geert Goderis1, Frank Nobels2, Bert Aertgeerts1, Lieven Annemans34 and Dirk Ramaekers1

Author Affiliations

1 University of Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 33, Leuven B-3000, Belgium

2 OLV Hospital Aalst, Aalst, Belgium

3 Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

4 Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

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BMC Family Practice 2014, 15:24  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-24

Published: 4 February 2014



Despite the efforts of the healthcare community to improve the quality of diabetes care, about 50% of people with type 2 diabetes do not reach their treatment targets, increasing the risk of future micro-and macro-vascular complications. Diabetes self-management education has been shown to contribute to better disease control. However, it is not known which strategies involving educational programs are cost-effective. Telehealth applications might support chronic disease management. Transferability of successful distant patient self-management support programs to the Belgian setting needs to be confirmed by studies of a high methodological quality. “The COACH Program” was developed in Australia as target driven educational telephone delivered intervention to support people with different chronic conditions. It proved to be effective in patients with coronary heart disease after hospitalization. Clinical and cost-effectiveness of The COACH Program in people with type 2 diabetes in Belgium needs to be assessed.


Randomized controlled trial in patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients were selected based on their medication consumption data and were recruited by their sickness fund. They were randomized to receive either usual care plus “The COACH Program” or usual care alone. The study will assess the difference in outcomes between groups. The primary outcome measure is the level of HbA1c. The secondary outcomes are: Total Cholesterol, LDL-Cholesterol, HDL-Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Blood Pressure, body mass index, smoking status; proportion of people at target for HbA1c, LDL-Cholesterol and Blood Pressure; self-perceived health status, diabetes-specific emotional distress and satisfaction with diabetes care. The follow-up period is 18 months. Within-trial and modeled cost-utility analyses, to project effects over life-time horizon beyond the trial duration, will be undertaken from the perspective of the health care system if the intervention is effective.


The study will enhance our understanding of the potential of telehealth in diabetes management in Belgium. Research on the clinical effectiveness and the cost-effectiveness is essential to support policy makers in future reimbursement and implementation decisions.

Trial registration

Belgian number: B322201213625. Identifier: NCT01612520

Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Telenursing; RCT; Economic analysis