Patients who visited their primary care physician once every one or two weeks to control their diabetes reached their clinical goals more often than those who visited less frequently, says a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
More frequent patient-physician interactions led to faster control of hemoglobin A1c levels and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, and improved outcomes.
The retrospective study included 26,496 patients with diabetes. The patients were separated into two groups. Patients not receiving insulin who visited their doctor every one to two weeks took a median of 4.4 months to achieve hemoglobin A1c levels of less than 7 percent.
In contrast, patients who saw their physicians every three to six months took 24.9 months for their levels to come in line.
For patients who were receiving insulin, it was 10.1 months vs. 52.8 months.
Reaching acceptable clinical outcomes faster was also evident when the researchers looked at blood pressure and LDL levels.
The median time to reach a blood pressure lower than 130/85 mm Hg was 1.3 months compared with 13.9 months.
Median time to reach LDL levels less than 100 mg/dL was 5.1 months vs. 32.8 months.