Computer reminders may help physiciansbetter manage blood sugar levelsin their patients with diabetes, accordingto the results of a study reported in theArchives of Internal Medicine (March 13,2006). For the 3-year study, the researchersassessed computerized performancefeedback as a way of overcomingclinical inertia among 345 physicianstreating 4038 patients with the disease.The participants were mainly black.
The physicians were randomized to ausual-care group or to groups thatreceived computerized reminders or feedbackon how well their patients weredoing or both. The results of the study indicatedthat the interventions that incorporatedperformance feedback were superiorat intensifying diabetes therapy, comparedwith usual-care or reminder-onlyinterventions. Further investigation provedthat performance feedback predictedtreatment intensification, which in turn ledto improved blood sugar control.