Acta Diabetol 2019 Apr 16. Epub 2019 Apr 16.
Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Aims: Little is known regarding initiation of insulin therapy in type 2 diabetes (T2D) in Central and South-Eastern European countries. Therefore, we conducted a survey to characterise the prescribing practices of specialist diabetes healthcare professionals in this region and assessed factors that influence clinical decision-making regarding insulin initiation in T2D.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey sampled 211 specialist diabetes healthcare prescribers from five Central and South-Eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, and Slovenia). A structured questionnaire was developed which surveyed current clinical practices and influencing factors, barriers to insulin initiation, and combination therapy prescribing preferences.
Result: Only 9.4% (20 of out of 211 respondents) of healthcare professionals would initiate insulin therapy in T2D patients at the recommended HbA1c threshold of 7-7.9% [53-63 mmol/mol]. Large regional differences were evident in insulin initiation thresholds (≥ 9.0% [≥ 75 mmol/mol]: Bulgaria 80.8% vs. Slovenia 13.3%). Psychological distress was recorded as the major barrier to insulin initiation. Health insurance regulations were ranked more important than personal clinical experience and clinical guidelines in clinical decision-making. Information from peers was more influential than manufacturer information, clinical experience, and continuous medical education, respectively, for insulin initiation.
Conclusions: Despite large regional variation, there is widespread delay of insulin initiation from specialist diabetes healthcare professionals in Central and South-Eastern Europe.