Topic Spotlight


PCORI Answers Critical Questions

Although many care options are available to prevent and manage diabetes, questions remain about what options work best for whom, and about the most effective ways to deliver care. PCORI is funding comparative clinical effectiveness research that will provide answers to such questions as:

Caregiver: The treatment plan recommended for my son's type 1 diabetes isn’t something we can easily work into our schedules. Can my son safely monitor his diabetes and stay healthy if we tailor the plan to better fit our lifestyle?

Clinician: Have doctors serving diverse populations with high rates of diabetes seen better results when they use prevention programs that are culturally tailored?

Patient: I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and taking care of myself has been challenging. I want to change that. Should I get a health coach, read more about diabetes care, or go to the doctor more often?


Evidence Updates from PCORI-Funded Studies

Comparing Two Types of Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery can help people with obesity lose weight and improve problems related to obesity, like diabetes. But surgery can also cause harm, and outcomes may vary across different procedures. A recent PCORI-funded study compared the benefits and harms of the two most common types of bariatric surgery: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, or gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy, or sleeve surgery. A pair of Evidence Updates is now available that can help clinicians and patients work together to make informed decisions regarding patient care.

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

Tailoring Diabetes Education To Meet Cultural Needs

Type 2 diabetes has become a well-known part of daily life for the Marshallese community. In Northwest Arkansas, health screenings found 38.4 percent of Marshallese people with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels indicating diabetes. Read about a PCORI-funded study, which found that Marshallese adults in a culturally adapted diabetes education program experienced significantly greater reductions in hemoglobin A1c after one year in the program, compared with adults in a standard program.

Daily Blood Sugar Tests May Not Be Beneficial for Some Patients

For people with type 2 diabetes, maintaining their blood sugar at a healthy level is important. But checking their blood sugar every day may not help them manage the condition. Recent Evidence Updates share results of a recent PCORI-funded study, which found people with type 2 diabetes who don’t use insulin did not benefit from daily self-testing. Study participants who checked their blood sugar each day for a year had the same A1c and quality of life as people who didn’t test daily.

Community Coaches Help Native Americans Manage Diabetes

Native Americans have the highest rate of diabetes of all US racial and ethnic groups. In response, this Massachusetts-based study trained laypeople known as community health representatives to coach and help coordinate care for people in their own Navajo communities. As reported in International Journal for Equity in Health, compared to those not in the program, people in it lowered blood sugar and cholesterol levels at a greater level, and they also were more likely to make and keep appointments with doctors and other health providers.

Diabetes Study Spotlights

Tailoring Study Results to an Individual Patient

A PCORI-funded project led by David Kent, MD, MS, of Tufts Medical Center, shows that data from large clinical studies can provide not just the average effect of a treatment, as most studies now do, but indicate which patients are likely to benefit—or not. Kent’s team is now working with the American Medical Group Association to spread the risk model to 50 clinics in two major health systems.

A Focus on Data to Improve Navajo Health

Native Americans have disproportionately high rates of diabetes. Two PCORI-funded studies are searching for answers in the Navajo Nation and its health data. Challenges abound—including far-flung geography, low health resources, and language barriers—but together, Navajo researchers and community health workers are meeting them.

Strategies to Improve Healthy Behaviors among Medicaid Recipients with Diabetes

This project evaluates whether utilizing a system of text message reminders alone, support from a community health worker alone, or a strategy that employs both, is most successful in improving healthy behaviors among Medicaid recipients with diabetes.

Diabetes Portfolio Snapshots

Diabetes Portfolio Snapshot - Areas of care addressed - Treatment - 24, Prevention - 4, Screening - 1. As of November 2017
Diabetes Portfolio Snapshot - Most studied populations - Racial/ethnic minorities - 25, Low income - 20, Low health literacy - 15, Individuals with multiple chronic conditions - 14, Rural - 10, Older adults - 8. As of November 2017