Results of a successful telephonic intervention to improve diabetes control in urban adults: A randomized trial

Elizabeth A. Walker, Celia Shmukler, Ralph Ullman, Emelinda Blanco, Melissa Scollan-Koliopoulus, Hillel W. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - To compare the effectiveness of a telephonic and a print intervention over 1 year to improve diabetes control in low-income urban adults. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - A randomized trial in Spanish and English comparing a telephonic intervention implemented by health educators with a print intervention. Participants (N=526) had an A1C≥7.5% and were prescribed one or more oral agents. All were members of a union/employer jointly sponsored health benefit plan. Health coverage included medications. Primary outcomes were A1C and pharmacy claims data; secondary outcomes included self-report of two medication adherence measures and other self-care behaviors. RESULTS - Participants were 62% black and 23% Hispanic; 77% were foreign born, and 42% had annual family incomes <$30 thousand. Baseline median A1C was 8.6% (interquartile range 8.0-10.0). Insulin was also prescribed for 24% of participants. The telephone group had mean ± SE decline in A1C of 0.23 ± 0.11% over 1 year compared with a rise of 0.13 ± 0.13% for the print group (P = 0.04). After adjusting for baseline A1C, sex, age, and insulin use, the difference in A1C was 0.40% (95% CI 0.10-0.70, P = 0.009). Change in medication adherence measured by claims data, but not by self-report measures, was significantly associated with change in A1C (P = 0.01). Improvement in medication adherence was associated (P = 0.005) with the telephonic intervention, but only among those not taking insulin. No diabetes self-care activities were significantly correlated with the change in A1C. CONCLUSIONS - A 1-year tailored telephonic intervention implemented by health educators was successful in significantly, albeit modestly, improving diabetes control compared with a print intervention in a low-income, insured, minority population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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