Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 11, November 2009

Improving GP diabetes management A PDSA audit cycle in Western Australia

Cynthia Porter Ann Larson Marisa Gilles Charlie Greenfield
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Tight glucose, blood pressure and lipid control in patients with diabetes can reduce morbidity and mortality from macro- and micro-vascular complications. However, treatment targets are not being met in a large proportion of patients. Clinical audit involves cycles of evaluation of current activity against standards. It allows problems to be identified and action to be taken to address them.
Many of the audited GPs in our study undertreated BP, HbA1c and cholesterol. Improvement in some areas was seen over the study period, which may have been due to the quality assurance activities undertaken. These results reveal a therapeutic opportunity for reducing cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes. More aggressive management of BP and lipids by GPs may see rewards in terms of reducing cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes.
While there was a significant improvement in lipid monitoring over the study period (p<0.001), monitoring of HbA1c and blood pressure (BP) remained unchanged. Between the first and third audits, a reduction in mean HbA1c (p<0.001), mean total cholesterol (p=0.017), mean LDL cholesterol (p=0.014) and mean systolic BP (p=0.002) was seen. There was an improvement in the proportion of patients achieving cholesterol goals (measured by LDL and reaching a target of HbA1c <7%) between the first and third audits; however the proportion with BP within target declined. In the third audit, 11% of patients on diet alone, 36% on an oral hypoglycaemic agent, 90% on three oral hypoglycaemic agents and 84% of those on insulin were outside the target HbA1c. In the same audit, of those outside target BP, 53% were on no treatment and 65% were only on one type of medication. Eighty-seven percent of patients outside target cholesterol levels had not been prescribed a statin.

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