Self-management education and support are essential for improved diabetes control. A 1-year randomized telephonic diabetes self-management intervention (Bronx A1C) among a predominantly Latino and African American population in New York City was found effective in improving blood glucose control. To further those findings, this current study assessed the intervention’s impact in reducing health care utilization and costs over 4 years.
We measured inpatient (n = 816) health care utilization for Bronx A1C participants using an administrative data set containing all hospital discharges for New York State from 2006 to 2014. Multilevel mixed modeling was used to assess changes in health care utilization and costs between the telephonic diabetes intervention (Tele/Pr) arm and print-only (PrO) control arm.
During follow-up, excess relative reductions in all-cause hospitalizations for the Tele/Pr arm compared with PrO arm were statistically significant for odds of hospital use (odds ratio [OR] 0.89; 95% CI 0.82, 0.97; P < 0.01), number of hospital stays (rate ratio [RR] 0.90; 95% CI 0.81, 0.99; P = 0.04), and hospital costs (RR 0.90; 95% CI 0.84, 0.98; P = 0.01). Reductions in hospital use and costs were even stronger for diabetes-related hospitalizations. These outcomes were not significantly related to changes observed in hemoglobin A1c during individuals’ participation in the 1-year intervention.
These results indicate that the impact of the Bronx A1C intervention was not just on short-term improvements in glycemic control but also on long-term health care utilization. This finding is important because it suggests the benefits of the intervention were long-lasting with the potential to not only reduce hospitalizations but also to lower hospital-associated costs.