People with type 2 diabetes can benefit from better education about their condition from frequent contact with healthcare professionals.

A newly published study has found that people with health conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are more likely to respond to recommended treatments following appointments with their healthcare professionals.

Researchers from Leicester funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands reviewed 34 studies looking at ways to ensure people with the two conditions abide by their medication schedule. The results were recently published in BMJ Open.

The findings showed that people with type 2 diabetes and / or cardiovascular disease were more like to take prescribed medication if they had regular contact with a healthcare professional and education about their condition.

In addition to investigating the best ways to improve rates of people taking prescribed medications, the team compared the impact of structured trials to research evaluating the effectiveness of interventions in real-life.

Researchers found that interventions featuring an element of education alongside regular time with a healthcare professional “showed the most promise”.

Researchers concluded: “Frequent engagement with the healthcare team may trigger behavioural change or act as a reminder to undertake the behaviour.”

When analysing the differences between explanatory and pragmatic studies, the outcomes suggested that the effectiveness was comparable, suggesting that “findings can be transferred from idealised to real-world conditions”.

On the back of this study, the researchers have called for further guidance to be developed to assist researchers in characterising and scoring studies.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of NIHR ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care, Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Overall multifaceted interventions which included an element of education alongside regular patient contact or follow-up showed the most promise. Effectiveness of interventions between pragmatic and explanatory trials were comparable, suggesting that findings can be transferred from idealised to real-world conditions.

“With regard to trial design, recently there has been a focus on designing trials that are pragmatic and therefore more representative of ‘real life’. The findings from this review suggest that the effectiveness of interventions between pragmatic and explanatory trials was comparable, suggesting that findings can be transferred from idealised to real-word conditions.”

ARC East Midlands is hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and works in collaboration with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network. It has bases at University of Leicester and University of Nottingham.

Read the report in BMJ Open
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