Remote Health Coaching Can Improve HbA1c in Youth With Type 1 Diabetes

Researchers reported that collaboration among medical providers, patients, and caregivers was important for optimal glycemic control in youth with type 1 diabetes.

Outcome-based incentives and personalized health coaching is an effective strategy for the short-term reduction of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to study results presented at the American Diabetes Association 79th Scientific Sessions, held June 7 to 11, 2019.

Researchers examined the effects of a 10-week clinical care pilot program on decreasing HbA1c in adolescents with suboptimal diabetes control. The program consisted of weekly no-cost health coaching for study participants and/or their caregivers. Health coaching, conducted by diabetes team members, was offered over telephone and email, and was individualized on the basis of the needs of the family. The program also featured an outcome-based incentive: participants who completed the program and saw reductions in HbA1c measurements were entered into a drawing to win an iPad.

Of 179 youth with T1D who were offered the program, only caregivers of 25 youth (aged 4-18 years; mean HbA1c, 9.4%) completed the 10 weeks of coaching sessions and follow-up HbA1c measures.

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Of the 25 study participants, 80% (n = 20) had a decrease in HbA1c level at the end of 10 weeks; 68% (n = 17) experienced a decrease in HbA1c >0.5%, and 28% (n = 7) had an HbA1c decrease >1.0%.

The researchers noted, “This data suggests that moving from an office centric model of care to a sustained health coaching model delivered via phone/email may be a more effective strategy to improve diabetes outcomes.”

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Clary LE, Arboine S, Dauber A, et al. A clinical care improvement pilot program: individualized health coaching and use of incentives for youth with type 1 diabetes and their caregivers. Presented at: American Diabetes Association 79th Scientific Sessions; June 7-11, 2019; San Francisco, CA; Poster 1260-P.