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Pain reduction and financial incentives to improve glucose monitoring adherence in a community health center.

  • Author(s): Huntsman, Mary Ann H
  • Olivares, Faith J
  • Tran, Christina P
  • Billimek, John
  • Hui, Elliot E
  • et al.

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Self-monitoring of blood glucose is a critical component of diabetes management. However, patients often do not maintain the testing schedule recommended by their healthcare provider. Many barriers to testing have been cited, including cost and pain. We present a small pilot study to explore whether the use of financial incentives and pain-free lancets could improve adherence to glucose testing in a community health center patient population consisting largely of non-English speaking ethnic minorities with low health literacy. The proportion of patients lost to follow-up was 17%, suggesting that a larger scale study is feasible in this type of setting, but we found no preliminary evidence suggesting a positive effect on adherence by either financial incentives or pain-free lancets. Results from this pilot study will guide the design of larger-scale studies to evaluate approaches to overcome the variety of barriers to glucose testing that are present in disadvantaged patient populations.

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