Diabetes Care Processes and Outcomes in Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians

Elizabeth R. Lenz, Mary O.neil Mundinger, Sarah C. Hopkins, Susan X. Lin, Janice L. Smolowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


PURPOSE the purpose of this study was to compare selected diabetes care processes and outcomes of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physicians (MDs) in the primary care of adults with type 2 diabetes. METHODS Adults with type 2 diabetes and no regular source of primary care were enrolled from the emergency room and randomized to an NP or MD practice. Chart reviews were conducted to assess processes of care; patient interviews and hemoglobin Al C (Al C) testing were performed to measure patient outcomes. RESULTS NPs were more likely than MDs to document provision of general diabetes education and education about nutrition, weight, exercise, and medications. They were more likely to document patient height, urinalyses results, and Al C values. No differences were found in documenting current medications; alcohol, illicit drug, or tobacco use; depression; weight and blood pressure; foot and cardiovascular exams; blood glucose and creatinine testing; or referral to ophthalmologists. No differences were found in patient outcomes. CONCLUSIONS This study provides preliminary evidence of interdisciplinary differences in the processes of care employed by primary care NPs and MDs in caring for patients with type 2 diabetes. NPs documented the provision of diabetes education and selected monitoring tests more frequently than MDs; however, these differences were not reflected in 6-month patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-598
Number of pages9
JournalThe Diabetes Educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2002


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