Impact of a chronic care model based on patient empowerment on the management of Type 2 diabetes: effects of the SINERGIA programme


Maria Chiara Rossi MSc Pharm Chem, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Epidemiology, Consorzio Mario Negri Sud, Via Nazionale, 66030 S, Maria Imbaro (CH), Italy. E-mail:


Diabet. Med. 28, 724–730 (2011)


Aims  Several chronic care models for diabetes have been implemented in Italy, although conclusive data on their effectiveness are lacking. In the Cusano-Milanino diabetes clinic, patients with Type 2 diabetes with a stable disease/therapy (i.e. a steady level of HbA1c without need for therapy changes) are included in the SINERGIA programme: diabetologists, nurses and dietitians empower patients and telemedicine resources are utilized efficiently.

Methods  Clinical outcomes measured in the year before and after the initiation of SINERGIA were compared. A generalized hierarchical linear regression model for repeated measures was used.

Results  Altogether, 1004 patients were included; baseline characteristics were (mean ± sd): age 66.6 ± 6.2 years, 54.1% male, diabetes duration 10.8 ± 7.7 years, BMI 29.5 ± 4.8 kg/m2, HbA1c 6.9 ± 0.9% (52 ± 14 mmol/mol); 72.9% of patients were treated with anti-hypertensive drugs; 32.7% were treated with lipid-lowering drugs. After a median follow-up of 12 months (range 6–24 months), the proportion of patients with HbA1c≤ 7.0% (≤ 53 mmol/mol) increased from 32.7 to 45.8% (P < 0.0001), while those with HbA1c≥ 9% (≥ 75 mmol/mol) decreased from 10.5 to 4.3% (P < 0.0001). Patients with LDL cholesterol < 100 mg/dl (< 2.59 mmol/l) increased from 40 to 47% (P < 0.0001), while those with LDL cholesterol ≥ 130 mg/dl (≥ 3.36 mmol/l) decreased from 26.6 to 19.7%; blood pressure levels were slightly improved. The mean number of face-to-face encounters decreased from (median and range) 2.8 (2.3–3.4) to 2.3 (1.9–2.7) (P < 0.0001) visits per patient/year.

Conclusions  The SINERGIA model is effective in improving metabolic control and major cardiovascular risk factors, while allowing diabetologists to dedicate more time to patients with more acute disease.