Background: Care for patients with chronic diseases is challenging and requires multifaceted interventions to appropriately coordinate the entire treatment process. The effect of such interventions on clinical outcomes has been assessed, but evidence of the effect on organization of care is scarce. The aim is to assess the effect of structured diabetes care on organization of care from the perspective of patients and healthcare professionals in routine practice, and to ascertain whether this effect persists
Methods: In a quasi-experimental study the effect of structured care (SC) was compared with care-as-usual (CAU). Questionnaires were sent to healthcare professionals (SC n = 31; CAU n = 11) and to patients (SC n = 301; CAU n = 102). A follow-up questionnaire was sent after formal support of the intervention ended (2007).
Results: SC does have an effect on the organization of care. More cooperation between healthcare professionals, less referrals to secondary care and more education were reported in the SC group as compared to the CAU group. These changes were found both at the healthcare professional and at the patient level. Organizational changes remained after formal support for the intervention support had ended.
Conclusion: According to patients and healthcare professionals, structured care does have a positive effect on the organization of care. The use of these two sources of information is important, not only to assess the value of changes in care for the patient and the healthcare provider but also to ascertain the validity of the results found.