Building Partnerships: An Evaluation of Mobile Diabetes Education Teams Integrated into Primary Care

Due to the limited access to diabetes education programs in Canada, individuals with diabetes are not receiving the comprehensive care they need in order to manage their illness effectively. Most people with diabetes receive care solely from their primary care physicians who have expressed a lack of time and knowledge to fully care for and support diabetes patients.

The objective of this research is to evaluate a redesign in how we deliver diabetes care and self-management education using a collaborative approach. Our project will evaluate Mobile Diabetes Education Teams (MDETs), one registered nurse, and one registered dietitian, in supporting primary care physicians with the management and care of patients with diabetes at various primary care sites. We plan to examine the impact of MDETs on patient clinical outcomes and the quality of care patients receive. We will analyze the implementation of MDETs in different regions of Ontario, settings, and formats of education delivery and carry out a cost-effectiveness evaluation. MDETs in primary care can strengthen partnerships between primary care physicians and diabetes education programs, increase patient access to education and support, and improve patient experience and clinical outcomes through enhanced diabetes care.

The need for a comprehensive evaluation is supported by the literature and decision-makers as interprofessional team capacity is of central importance in primary care reform within Ontario and across Canada. This research can direct how diabetes prevention, management, and care are delivered, and in turn, help to reduce the burden of diabetes in Canada.