Diabetes education delivered in a group setting, when compared with an individual setting, was equally effective at providing equivalent or slightly greater improvements. The current study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of delivering diabetes education in either a group or individual setting using a consistent, evidence-based curriculum.
A total of 170 subjects with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to either group (n = 87) or individual (n = 83) educational settings. Subjects received education in four sequential sessions delivered at consistent time intervals over a 6-month period. Outcomes included changes in knowledge, self-management behaviors, weight, BMI, HbA1c, health-related quality of life, patient attitudes, and medication regimen. Changes were assessed at baseline and after the 2-week, 3-month, and 6-month education sessions.
Both educational settings had similar improvements in knowledge, BMI, health-related quality of life, attitudes, and all other measured indicators. HbA1c decreased from 8.5 ± 1.8% at baseline to 6.5 ± 0.8% at 6 months (P < 0.01) in the study population as a whole. Subjects assigned to the individual setting had a 1.7 ± 1.9% reduction in HbA1c (P < 0.01), whereas subjects assigned to the group setting had a 2.5 ± 1.8% reduction in HbA1c (P < 0.01). The difference in HbA1c improvement was marginally greater in subjects assigned to group education versus individualized education (P = 0.05).
This study demonstrates that diabetes education delivered in a group setting, when compared with an individual setting, was equally effective at providing equivalent or slightly greater improvements in glycemic control. Group diabetes education was similarly effective in delivering key educational components and may allow for more efficient and cost-effective methods in the delivery of diabetes education programs. Diabetes Care 25:269-274, 2002