Type II Diabetic Patient Attitudes and Perceptions Towards Group Diabetic Visits in a Central Phoenix Family Medicine Practice

Serena Woods-Grimm M.D., Boise State University


Type 2 Diabetes is a major health care concern within the United States. To date, the traditional approach to managing Diabetes has been through the utilization of fifteen minute appointments with one-on-one interactions between the patient and physician. Unfortunately, extensive literature suggests that the traditional approach is falling short of expected Diabetic management goals (American Diabetes Association, 2007; Anderson, 1995; Hunt, Arar, & Larme, 1998; Masley, Sokoloff, & Hawes, 2000; Norris, Lau, Smith, Schmid, & Engelgau, 2002; Trento et al., 2002; Trento et al., 2004; Trento et al., 1998, Wagner et al., 2001). A novel approach to Diabetic care through group Diabetic visits has been introduced and studies suggest that it is both an effective and feasible approach (Beck et al., 1997; Trento et al., 2002; Trento et al., 2004; Trento et al., 2006; Trento et al., 2001; Trento et al., 1998). Researchers at a central Phoenix Family Medicine Practice have initiated a pilot group Diabetic visit program to explore this claim further.

This study utilized a cross-sectional survey design to investigate the attitudes and perceptions of type 2 Diabetic patients within the Peppertree Family Practice Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona towards group Diabetic visits. The intent was to utilize information collected from patients to assist facilitators in assessing the potential viability of future group Diabetic visits, identify perceived and actual benefits and barriers to group visits, and focus advertising campaigns to enhance patient attendance in future group visits.

Two surveys, A and B (see Appendix A and B), were distributed to type 2 Diabetic patients between the ages of 21 years old and 100 years old in the Peppertree Family Practice Clinic, and type 2 Diabetic patients who attended the pilot group Diabetic visit program at the Peppertree Family Practice Clinic respectively. Seventy-two responses to survey A and five responses to survey B were included in the final analysis.

Results from survey A indicated that the majority of the patient population had never been introduced to the concept of group Diabetic visits, but once introduced patients were overall receptive to the idea and were likely to attend group Diabetic visits if offered. The majority of patients who were familiar with the concept of group Diabetic visits at the time of this study had herd about them via word of mouth from a physician, friend, or relative. Results of survey A also showed that patients felt that the care they would receive in group Diabetic visits would be inferior to the care they would receive in traditional one-on-one visits. This perception is not consistent with published research on this topic and serves as an opportunity for targeted patient education regarding the benefits of group Diabetic visits.

Due to the small response rate to survey B analysis of the findings must be done with caution. Observations suggest that patient interest in group Diabetic visits increased after attending the pilot group Diabetic visit program. Furthermore, the attitudes and perceptions of participants towards group visits was overwhelmingly positive, and patients felt that future group visits should be offered with patient notification of these visits occurring via mail.

Based on the results of this study, recommendations to focus future advertising campaigns on introducing the concept of group Diabetic visits into the community, utilizing a wider-spectrum of advertising modalities while recognizing the impact that word of mouth has on the current patient population, and emphasizing known benefits to group visits to correct the misperception that the quality of care offered in group visits is inferior to one-on-one visits were made.