Type 1 diabetes outcomes: Does distance to clinic matter?
Fox DA., Islam N., Amed S.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:To access care, pediatric type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients living in British Columbia (BC), Canada, travel to the sole tertiary pediatric hospital (BC Children's Hospital; BCCH), or they receive community care from pediatric endocrinologists and/or pediatricians. We sought to determine whether hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C ) and patient-reported outcomes were associated with (1) distance to clinic and (2) tertiary vs community care. METHODS:Patients were recruited from T1D clinics across BC. Clinical chart review and patient surveys were completed, including the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire (DTSQ). Clinic type was categorized as tertiary (BCCH) or community, and the travel time to BCCH was categorized as <1 hour, 1 to 2 hours, or >2 hours. RESULTS:There were 189 participants. Age and duration of T1D were similar across groups. Mean number of visits/year for BCCH groups were 2.23, 2.24, and 2.05 for the <1-hour, 1- to 2-hour, and >2-hour groups, respectively, vs 3.26 for the community group. Adjusted mean difference in HbA1C was +0.65% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.15, 1.15) and +0.52% (95% CI: 0.02, 1.02) for the BCCH >2-hour group compared to the BCCH <1-hour group and community groups, respectively. Child DTSQ scores were significantly lower in the BCCH >2-hour group compared to the BCCH <1-hour and community groups. CONCLUSIONS:Children traveling >2 hours to T1D clinic at BCCH had significantly higher HbA1C values and lower satisfaction with care vs those traveling <1 hour to BCCH and those receiving community care. Access to care closer to home may benefit glycemic control in children with T1D and improve treatment satisfaction. Future research should determine whether these findings can be replicated in other regions.