Reason for Ranking
Regular HbA1c monitoring among diabetic patients is considered the standard of care. It helps assess the management of diabetes over the long term by providing an estimate of how well a patient has managed his or her diabetes over the past two to three months. When hyperglycemia is addressed and controlled, complications from diabetes can be delayed or prevented.
Measurement Strengths and Limitations
Evidence suggests that implementing disease management programs that target multiple components of chronic diseases can improve quality of care. The use of HbA1c testing to measure glycated hemoglobin for long-term monitoring of diabetes is widely accepted as one component of a comprehensive disease management program. HbA1c testing is recommended for all patients as part of the initial assessment after a diabetes diagnosis, and then on a routine basis as a part of the patient’s comprehensive diabetes care plan. Widespread acceptance of the HbA1c test as a standard component of competent diabetes care makes it an ideal indicator to estimate quality of care.
A weakness of the measure is that it uses Medicare claims data, which limits the population evaluated to individuals age 65 and older. This measure, therefore, may potentially miss trends and disparities among younger age groups.