Task Force Recommends Team-Based Care for Diabetes Management

A doctor and nurse record a patient's weightThe Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends team-based care to control type 2 diabetes. The finding is based on a systematic review that found strong evidence of effectiveness in improving patients’ blood glucose (measured using A1c levels), blood pressure, and lipid levels. Interventions also increased the proportion of patients who reached target blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipid levels.

What are Team-Based Care Interventions?

Team-based care to improve diabetes control is a health systems-level, organizational intervention that assigns a multidisciplinary team to help patients manage their diabetes. Each team includes the patient, the patient’s primary care provider (not necessarily a physician), and one or more other health professionals.

Teams work together to help patients

  • Get appropriate medical tests and examinations (e.g., blood glucose level, blood pressure, lipid level, weight, eye and foot examinations).
  • Use medications to manage and control risk factors (e.g., blood glucose level, blood pressure, lipid level).
  • Self-manage their health care and adhere to treatment.
  • Make healthy behavior and lifestyle choices (e.g., improved diet, increased physical activity, cessation of smoking).
  • Improve their quality of life and prevent diabetes-related complications.

In order to form a team, most of the studies included in the review added a nurse or pharmacist to the patient-primary care provider relationship. Team members interacted with patients face-to-face, remotely (e.g. telephone, email), or both in-person and remotely. Studies showed that patients experienced greater reductions in blood glucose levels when services such as education, counseling, and follow-up were delivered both in-person and remotely.

Why is the Task Force Recommendation Important?

  • Approximately 29.1 million Americans are living with diagnosed diabetes (CDC 2014).
  • The estimated cost of diabetes has risen from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012 (CDC 2014).
  • Diabetes increases patients’ risk of heart attack, nerve damage, eye damage and blindness, renal disease, cerebrovascular disease, and more. When properly managed, however, patients can reduce these risks.

Compared with usual care, team-based care interventions improve patients’ diabetic outcomes, including blood glucose levels, blood pressure, lipid levels, and more. Using proven team-based care interventions, patients have improved their diabetes-related quality of life and general physical and mental health.

What are the Task Force and Community Guide?

  • The Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) is an independent, nonfederal, panel of public health and prevention experts whose members are appointed by the director of CDC. The Task Force provides information for a wide range of decision makers on programs, services, and other interventions aimed at improving population health. The Task Force was established in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Although CDC provides administrative, scientific, and technical support for the Task Force, the recommendations developed are those of the Task Force and do not undergo review or approval by CDC.
  • The Community Guide is a collection of all the evidence-based findings and recommendations of The Community Preventive Services Task Force.

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