Computer reminders may help physicians better manage blood sugar levels in their patients with diabetes, according to the results of a study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine (March 13, 2006). For the 3-year study, the researchers assessed computerized performance feedback as a way of overcoming clinical inertia among 345 physicians treating 4038 patients with the disease. The participants were mainly black.
The physicians were randomized to a usual-care group or to groups that received computerized reminders or feedback on how well their patients were doing or both. The results of the study indicated that the interventions that incorporated performance feedback were superior at intensifying diabetes therapy, compared with usual-care or reminder-only interventions. Further investigation proved that performance feedback predicted treatment intensification, which in turn led to improved blood sugar control.