Using hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels as an indicator of quality of care, we assessed the impact that the availability of point-of-care (POC) HbA1c had on patient care in a diabetic care clinic. This was a retrospective cross-sectional study that used a laboratory database to identify patients older than 21 years who had diabetes and HbA1c determination, and were seen at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Tex. All patients who met the criteria and were seen in 1 of 2 clinics, Stark Diabetes Center or family medicine clinic, from June 2001 through November 2005 were enrolled in the study. A total of 16,537 HbA1c results were analyzed over the study period. Of these 9550 results (2535 patients) were from the Stark Diabetes Center, and 6987 results (2003 patients) were from the family medicine clinic. Although there were differences in patient demographics for the Stark Diabetes Center and the family medicine clinic, these differences remained constant over the study. After POC HbA1c was available, a significant decrease in the mean HbA1c levels was noted for patients treated at the Stark Diabetes Clinic relative to the family medicine clinic patients (7.4% ± 1.4% to 7.9% ± 2.1%, P < 0.0001). Availability of POC HbA1c resulted in a reduction in the HbA1c levels in diabetic patients in the long term (≥3.5 years).
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