Risk stratification by endocrinologists of patients with type 2 diabetes in a Danish specialised outpatient clinic: a cross-sectional study

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BACKGROUND: To target optimised medical care the Danish guidelines for diabetes recommend stratification of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) into three levels according to risk and complexity of treatment. The aim was to describe the T2D population in an outpatient clinic, measure the compliance of the endocrinologists' to perform risk stratification, and investigate the level of concordance between stratification performed by the endocrinologists and objective assessments.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study with data collected from medical records and laboratory databases. The Danish risk stratification model contained the following criteria: HbA1c, blood pressure, metabolic complications, microvascular and macrovascular complications. Stratification levels encompassed: level 1 (uncomplicated), level 2 (intermediate risk) and level 3 (high risk). Objective assessments were conducted independently by two health professionals, and compared with the endocrinologists' assessments. In order to test the degree of concordance, we conducted Cohen's kappa, McNemar's test for marginal homogeneity, and Bowker's test for symmetry.

RESULTS: Of 245 newly referred patients, 209 (85 %) were stratified by the endocrinologists to level 1 (16 %), level 2 (55 %) and level 3 (29 %). By objective assessments, 4 % were stratified to level 1, 51 % to level 2 and 45 % to level 3. Of 419 long-term follow-up patients, 380 (91 %) were stratified by the endocrinologists to level 1 (5 %), level 2 (57 %), level 3 (38 %). By objective assessments, 3 % were stratified to level 1, 58 % to level 2 and 39 % to level 3. The concordance rate between endocrinologists' and objective assessments was 63 % among newly referred (kappa 0.39; fair agreement) and 67 % for long-term follow-up (kappa 0.45; moderate agreement). Among newly referred patients, the endocrinologists stratified less patients at level 3 compared to objective assessments (p < 0.0001). There were no significant differences in marginal distribution within long-term follow-up patients.

CONCLUSION: Type 2 diabetes patients, newly referred to or allocated for long-term follow-up in the out-patient clinic, were mainly intermediate and high-risk, complicated patients (96 % and 95 %, respectively). Compliance of stratification by endocrinologists was high. The concordance between endocrinologists' and objective assessments was not strong. Our data suggest that clinician-support for stratification level categorisation might be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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