Evaluation of Intermediate Care Clinics for Diabetes (ICCD)

Intermediate care clinics (ICC) are suggested as one method of improving care for people with type 2 diabetes, but their effectiveness and cost effectiveness is not known. Their aim is to provide a multidisciplinary community based service to support general practices in achieving good control of their patients. Three local PCTs (Leicester City, Coventry and Warwickshire) have agreed to establish intermediate care clinics as part of a cluster randomised trial of their effectiveness.

Patients with type 2 diabetes in participating practices will be invited to take part. Those that agree will attend a baseline assessment by a study nurse. This will include measurement of HbA1C, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, urine and lipids, as well as questionnaires about quality of life, satisfaction with current services and continuity of care. Practices will then be randomised to either usual care or intervention arms, the latter having access to the new clinics. Participating patients will be asked to attend a follow up assessment 18-24 months after the baseline assessments, when the same measurements will be repeated. We expect about 30% of patients in the intervention arm will have been referred to the ICC.

The primary outcome will be the percentage of patients achieving adequate control of HbA1, blood pressure and cholesterol, comparing all participants in the intervention and control arms, whether or not those in the intervention arm attended ICC. The study is powered to detect a 10% difference in this outcome, and will include 51 practices and 5100 patients. We will also examine the effect of the intervention on process measures, such as the number of contacts in hospital and general practice. In the intervention arm we will document in detail the inputs provided by ICC, so that if successful the model can be adopted elsewhere.

The economic evaluation will be undertaken from a societal perspective. A costing study will measure intervention and treatment costs in both groups. A comparative assessment of the marginal costs and outcomes of the intervention will be undertaken, to include cost-effectiveness ratios and cost-utility analysis. All findings will be subject to sensitivity analysis. Additionally we will explore the views of patients in the intervention arm who attended ICC using semi-structures interviews to identify positive and negative aspects of the patients experiences. We will also hold focus groups to explore views of professional stakeholders.