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Did the 2015 USPSTF Abnormal Blood Glucose Recommendations Change Clinician Attitudes or Behaviors? A Mixed-Method Assessment

In 2015, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) revised clinical recommendations to more broadly recommend abnormal blood glucose screening and more clearly recommend referral to behavioral interventions for adults with prediabetes. To assess the effects of the 2015 USPSTF recommendation changes on abnormal blood glucose screening and referral to behavioral interventions, and to examine physicians’ perceptions of the revised recommendation. We utilized a sequential, dependent mixed-methods triangulation design. A total of 33,444 patients meeting USPSTF abnormal blood glucose screening criteria within 15 health system-affiliated primary care practices and 20 primary care physicians in North Carolina. We assessed monthly abnormal blood glucose screening rate and monthly referral rate to behavioral interventions. To estimate trend changes in outcomes, we used segmented linear regression analysis of interrupted time-series data. We gathered physicians’ perspectives on the 2015 USPSTF abnormal blood glucose recommendation including awareness of, agreement with, adoption of, and adherence to the recommendation. To analyze qualitative data, we used directed content analysis. There was a slight significant change in trend in abnormal blood glucose screening rates post-recommendation. There was a slight, statistically significant decrease in referral rates to behavioral interventions post-recommendation. Physicians were generally unaware of the revisions to the 2015 USPSTF abnormal blood glucose recommendation; however, once the recommendations were described, physicians agreed with the screening recommendation but felt that the behavioral intervention referral recommendation was hard to implement. The 2015 USPSTF abnormal blood glucose guideline had little to no effect on abnormal blood glucose screening or referral to behavioral interventions in North Carolina practices. Potential interventions to improve these rates could include clinical decision tools embedded in the electronic health record and better referral systems for community-based diabetes prevention programs.

Authors: Thomas, Tainayah W; Golin, Carol E; Kinlaw, Alan C; Kirkman, M Sue; Golden, Shelley D; Lightfoot, Alexandra F; Samuel-Hodge, Carmen D

J Gen Intern Med. 2022 01;37(1):15-22. Epub 2021-04-07.

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