Quality of preventive care for diabetes: Effects of visit frequency and competing demands

Joshua J Fenton, Michael Von Korff, Elizabeth H B Lin, Paul Ciechanowski, Bessie A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: We sought to determine the association between timely receipt of diabetes-related preventive services and the longitudinal pattern of outpatient service use as characterized by a novel taxonomy that prioritized visits based on the Oregon State Prioritized Health Services List. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of mail survey and automated health care data for a population-based sample of patients with diabetes enrolled in a health maintenance organization in Washington State (N = 4,463). Outcomes included American Diabetes Association-recommended preventive services, including regular hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) monitoring, retinal examination, and microalbuminuria screening. Patients with fewer than 8 visits during the 2-year study period were considered infrequent users, while patients with 8 or more visits were classified as lower-priority users if most visits were for conditions of relatively low rank on the Oregon list and as higher-priority users otherwise. RESULTS: After adjustment for social, demographic, and clinical factors, and depression, infrequent users had significantly reduced odds of receiving at least 1 HbA1C test (odds ratio [OR] = 0.35, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.24-0.51), retinal examination (OR = 0.74, 95% CI, 0.63-0.86), and microalbuminuria screening (OR = 0.75, 95% CI, 0.58-0.96) relative to higher-priority users during the previous year. Lower-priority users also had relatively reduced odds of receiving at least 1 HbA1C test (OR = 0.59, 95% CI, 0.35-1.01), retinal examination (OR = 0.68, 95% CI, 0.56-0.84), and microalbuminuria screening (OR = 0.79, 95% CI, 0.57-1.09) despite attending a similar mean number of total visits as higher-priority users. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who attend relatively few outpatient visits or who attend more frequent visits for predominantly lower-priority conditions are more likely to receive substandard preventive care for diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Chronic disease
  • Delivery of health care
  • Diabetes
  • Disease management
  • Health services research
  • Patient compliance
  • Preventive health services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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