[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Original Investigation
June 2014

Effects of Telephone-Based Peer Support in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Receiving Integrated Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  • 2Hong Kong Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong
  • 3Asia Diabetes Foundation, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
  • 4Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 5Jockey Club School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
  • 6Ruttonjee Hospital, Hong Kong
  • 7University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(6):972-981. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.655

Importance  In type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), team management using protocols with regular feedback improves clinical outcomes, although suboptimal self-management and psychological distress remain significant challenges.

Objective  To investigate if frequent contacts through a telephone-based peer support program (Peer Support, Empowerment, and Remote Communication Linked by Information Technology [PEARL]) would improve cardiometabolic risk and health outcomes by enhancing psychological well-being and self-care in patients receiving integrated care implemented through a web-based multicomponent quality improvement program (JADE [Joint Asia Diabetes Evaluation]).

Design, Setting, and Participants  Between 2009 and 2010, 628 of 2766 Hong Kong Chinese patients with T2DM from 3 publicly funded hospital-based diabetes centers were randomized to the JADE + PEARL (n = 312) or JADE (n = 316) groups, with comprehensive assessment at 0 and 12 months.

Interventions  Thirty-three motivated patients with well-controlled T2DM received 32 hours of training (four 8-hour workshops) to become peer supporters, with 10 patients assigned to each. Peer supporters called their peers at least 12 times, guided by a checklist.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Changes in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level (primary), proportions of patients with attained treatment targets (HbA1c <7%; blood pressure <130/80 mm Hg; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <2.6 mmol/L [to convert to milligrams per deciliter, divide by 0.0256]) (secondary), and other health outcomes at month 12.

Results  Both groups had similar baseline characteristics (mean [SD] age, 54.7 [9.3] years; 57% men; disease duration, 9.4 [7.7] years; HbA1c level, 8.2% [1.6%]; systolic blood pressure, 136 [19] mm Hg; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, 2.89 [0.82] mmol/L; 17.4% cardiovascular-renal complications; and 34.9% insulin treated). After a mean (SD) follow-up period of 414 (55) days, 5 patients had died, 144 had at least 1 hospitalization, and 586 had repeated comprehensive assessments. On intention-to-treat analysis, both groups had similar reductions in HbA1c (JADE + PEARL, 0.30% [95% CI, 0.12%-0.47%], vs JADE, 0.29% [95% CI, 0.12%-0.47%] [P = .97]) and improvements in treatment targets and psychological-behavioral measures. In the JADE + PEARL group, 90% of patients maintained contacts with their peer supporters, with a median of 20 calls per patient. Most of the discussion items were related to self-management.

Conclusions and Relevance  In patients with T2DM receiving integrated care, peer support did not improve cardiometabolic risks or psychological well-being.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00950716