Intervention by peer mentors has a statistically significant effect on improving glucose control in African American veterans with diabetes, says a Medical News Today article based on study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.
In the study, 118 African American veterans aged 50 to 70 years old with persistently poor diabetes control were randomly assigned to 3 groups—usual care, peer mentoring, and financial incentives. Patients receiving usual care were notified of their starting levels and recommended goals for HbA1c. Those in the mentor group were assigned mentors, matched by age and sex, who previously had poor glycemic control but now had good control. Mentors participated in hour-long 1-on-1 training, including motivational interviewing techniques, and were informed that they would receive $20 per month if the patient confirmed that they had spoken at least once a week. Patients in the financial incentive group were told they would earn $100 if their HbA1c dropped by 1 point and $200 if it dropped by 2 points or to a level of 6.5%.
In the 6-month study, intervention by the peer mentors had a statistically significant effect in improving glucose control. On average, patients in the mentor group saw their HbA1c drop by approximately 1% (from 9.8 to 8.7). HbA1c levels in the financial incentive group dropped from 9.5 to 9.1, while the usual care group saw the smallest change (from 9.9 to 9.8), the article says.
Free full text of the study is available in the March 20 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.