The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Glycemic Monitoring and Other Processes of Care for Type 2 Diabetes: Protocol for a Retrospective Cohort Study
Mathew M., van Vlymen J., Meza-Torres B., Hinton W., Delanerolle G., Yonova I., Feher M., Fan X., Liyanage H., Joy M., Carinci F., de Lusignan S.
Background: Social distancing and other nonpharmaceutical interventions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection in the United Kingdom have led to substantial changes in delivering ongoing care for patients with chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Clinical guidelines for the management and prevention of complications for people with T2DM delivered in primary care services advise routine annual reviews and were developed when face-to-face consultations were the norm. The shift in consultations from face-to-face to remote consultations caused a reduction in direct clinical contact and may impact the process of care for people with T2DM. Objective: The aim of this study is to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic's first year on the monitoring of people with T2DM using routine annual reviews from a national primary care perspective in England. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of adults with T2DM will be performed using routinely collected primary care data from the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC). We will describe the change in the rate of monitoring of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) between the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) and the preceding year (2019). We will also report any change in the eight checks that make up the components of these reviews. The change in HbA1c monitoring rates will be determined using a multilevel logistic regression model, adjusting for patient and practice characteristics, and similarly, the change in a composite measure of the completeness of all eight checks will be modeled using ordinal regression. The models will be adjusted for the following patient-level variables: age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, COVID-19 shielding status, duration of diabetes, and comorbidities. The model will also be adjusted for the following practice-level variables: urban versus rural, practice size, Quality and Outcomes Framework achievement, the National Health Service region, and the proportion of face-to-face consultations. Ethical approval was provided by the University of Oxford Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee (September 2, 2021, reference R77306/RE001). Results: The analysis of the data extract will include 3.96 million patients with T2DM across 700 practices, which is 6% of the available Oxford-RCGP RSC adult population. The preliminary results will be submitted to a conference under the domain of primary care. The resulting publication will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal on diabetes and endocrinology. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery of care, but little is known about the process of caring for people with T2DM. This study will report the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these processes of care.