Study shows increased contact with health care providers may be key to improving outcomes for type 2 diabetes patient

Study shows increased contact with health care providers may be key to improving outcomes for type 2 diabetes patient

A recent 18-month study conducted by Copeman Healthcare revealed that increased regular contact between patients and health care providers is enabling them to achieve higher “treat to target” rates for type 2 diabetes than the national average.

The study found that regular follow-ups with patients to support them in achieving targets in A1c (blood sugar) was almost 45 per cent higher than the treat-to-target rates presented in the 2013 Diabetes Mellitus Status in Canada Survey (DM-SCAN). This is significant in that a landmark study — the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) — cited treating to target as resulting in an overall reduction of diabetes complications by 25 per cent.

The Copeman Healthcare study was led by Nina Hirvi, registered dietitian and clinical practice lead – dietetics, and involved a multidisciplinary team including family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered dietitians, kinesiologists, physiotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and lab technicians.

“Our motivation for doing this study was to define any care gaps. We wanted to quantify how we were doing as clinicians in terms of treating patients to target in compliance with the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clinical Practice Guidelines,” said Hirvi.

Once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Copeman study patients would visit the diabetes team (MD, registered dietitian, kinesiologist) for 30 minutes each, and undergo diabetes education and meter reading with the registered dietitian. The patients then received monthly follow-ups – whether by phone, email or in person – until targets were achieved.

Hirvi recommends that anyone newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes request regular follow-ups with a diabetes care team. Better diabetes management and control means improved quality of life and longevity.

Treat to target tips for patients with type 2 diabetes

  • Baked goods are for birthdays!
  • Eat protein at each meal such as beans, nuts, chicken breast, fish, Greek yogurt, and eggs.
  • Avoid cereals from a box.
  • Have a veggie meal at least twice a week. Add beans to soup, mix with a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa and veggies for a light lunch, or have a bean salad as a side dish (limit carbohydrate to one to two servings a meal — one serving = one slice sprouted grain bread,  1/2 cup whole grain rice, quinoa, 1/2 cup rolled oats, all cooked).
  • Exercise does the same thing for diabetes that medication does and then some. Do 30 minutes of cardio five days a week and do resistance training (muscle work) twice a week.
  • Check your A1c every three to four months. Mark it in your calendar as a recurring event. It’s the best overall indicator of how your sugars are doing.
  • When/if your A1c climbs above target, call your health provider to strategize about what to do about it. They can help!

To view the Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines, go to

About Copeman Healthcare Centre
Copeman Healthcare clinics offer premium health services, programs of prevention and medically supervised lifestyle change. Integrated teams of physicians, registered dietitians, specialist nurses, kinesiologists, psychologists and neuropsychologists help clients achieve greater longevity, improved quality of life and physical and psychological wellness. Copeman Healthcare clinics are located in Vancouver, West Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.