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Issue 99 Item 14 What Does the HbA1c Results Mean? Not Much According to a Patie

The understanding of the meaning of an A1c tests is crucial to diabetes management according to a new study. The purpose of the study was to compare self-reported knowledge about A1C testing with information from the medical record.

The study used a telephone survey which, was conducted among patients with diabetes in a rural fee-for-service practice and a community health center. Self-reported information regarding A1C testing, the last A1C value, and perceived blood glucose control was compared with the most current A1C value documented in the medical record.

The results showed that seventy five percent of survey respondents reported having 1 or more A1C tests in the past year, which generally agreed with information from their medical records. However, only 24% of those who reported having a test remembered the actual value, and the self-reported values correlated weakly with the last A1C on the medical record. Among those with a documented A1C value, half described their blood glucose as very well controlled. The last A1C value, however, was < 7.0% in only half of those respondents.

From the results it was concluded that persons with diabetes were aware of their previous A1C testing but did not interpret the values accurately in relation to their own glycemic control. If clinicians expect patient knowledge and understanding of glycemic control measures to improve outcomes of care, patient education will need to emphasize the meaning of these values.

For a Print out that you can enter your patients results on, with an explanation, just go to Patients Results
Diabetes Educ 2002 Jan-Feb;28(1):99-105