Background and Purpose: Over 30 million people in the United States (U.S.) have diabetes mellitus, which comprises about 9% of the population, and about 90% of individuals with diabetes have type 2 diabetes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017). Adults with type 2 diabetes at a local internal medicine clinic were consistently having high glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels, demonstrated by data collected from the electronic health record (EHR), and there was no ordering process for referring patients to diabetes management education and support (DSMES) services. The purpose of this project was to improve glycemic control, demonstrated by lower HbA1C levels, and reach a diabetes education attendance rate of 62.5% at an internal medicine clinic in Chandler, Arizona.
Methods: An electronic health record (EHR) template was created and brief staff training was completed to connect patients with diabetes in the community to a local formal diabetes education program. HbA1C levels were measured before and three months after adults with education program. HbA1C levels were measured before and three months after adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) received physicians’ orders for a DSMES program, and rates of attendance to the program were calculated. Data was collected through the EHR and through feedback from the DSMES program. Descriptive statistics were used in data analysis.
Outcomes: The participants’ results did not demonstrate significant differences in pre-referral and post-referral HbA1C results after they were ordered DSMES services (p = .506). The proportion of education attendance (30%) was lower than the project goal of 62.5%, but increased from the clinic baseline.
Conclusions: EHR template implementation for referral to DSMES may increase rates of formal diabetes education and improve glycemic control. Larger sample sizes, longer project periods, alternative methods of communication, and increased follow-up of participants may be required to produce significant results.