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Health Literacy, Glycemic Control, and Physician-Advised Glucose Self-Monitoring Use in Type 2 Diabetes

Research paper by Alvarez, P. M.; Young, L. A.; Mitchell, M.; Blakeney, T. G.; Buse, J. B.; Vu, M. B.; Weaver, M. A.; Rees, J.; Grimm, K.; Donahue, K. E.

Indexed on: 17 Nov '18Published on: 15 Nov '18Published in: Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association



Abstract

Objective. To measure the association between health literacy and both patient-reported and clinical outcomes in patients with non–insulin-treated type 2 diabetes. Research Design and Methods. We surveyed patients with non–insulin-treated type 2 diabetes (n = 448) from 15 primary care practices. The association between health literacy and patient-reported and clinical outcomes, including numeracy of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) use, how often physicians advised patients to conduct SMBG testing, and glycemic control (as measured by A1C), was investigated. Results. Study participants included 448 patients with non–insulin-treated type 2 diabetes located within central North Carolina. Participants with limited health literacy had poorer glycemic control (A1C 7.7 ± 1.1% vs. 7.5 ± 1.0%, P = 0.016) despite using SMBG testing more frequently (daily SMBG testing 49.3 vs. 30.7%, P = 0.001) compared to individuals with adequate health literacy. The difference in how often physicians advised patients to conduct SMBG testing between limited and adequate health literacy groups was not significant (P = 0.68). Conclusion. Limited health literacy was associated with poorer glycemic control and an increased frequency of SMBG testing in patients with non–insulin-treated type 2 diabetes. There was no significant difference in how often physicians advised patients to conduct SMBG testing between patients with limited and adequate health literacy.