GP practices are starting more of their newly diagnosed diabetes patients on glucose-lowering medications since the introduction of QOF indicators on tight glycaemic control, according to a report in Diabetic Medicine.
The study looked at data from the General Practice Research Database over a 10-year period between 1999 and 2008, for 21,197 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Over the five years prior to the pay-for-performance scheme, the annual rate of initiation of pharmacological treatment within 12 months of diagnosis was decreasing by 1.2% per year, whereas in the five years afterwards it went up by 1.9% year on year.
The study authors said this showed the ‘introduction of financial incentives in 2004 has effected a change in the management of people newly diagnosed with diabetes’.
The team noted that regular changes to the QOF indicators could have helped maintain the rise in treatment initiation – and there was no guarantee the trend would continue.
The researchers concluded: ‘The persistence of the change, at least within the parameters of the follow-up period, is at odds with QOF-induced changes reported in other studies and may be a consequence of the continued stimuli arising from the almost annual changes to the diabetes-related targets within the QOF.
‘It remains to be seen whether this trend will last and if further motivation may be necessary.’