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CHAPEL HILL, NC – August 19, 2020 — Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH, and Laura Young, MD, PhD, of the UNC School of Medicine are co-primary investigators of a study that will investigate the impact of COVID-19 on glucose monitoring in primary care patients with diabetes. The team was awarded $500,000 from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to advance their research.

The funding was received as an enhancement to the team’s current PCORI-funded project titled Re-think the Strip, which promotes the de-adoption of self-monitoring of blood glucose among patients with type 2 diabetes who are not on insulin, and encouraging these patients to rely on regular A1c tests for their glycemic control.

Donahue Headshot
Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH

With the onset of COVID-19, the researchers found that patients are unsure of how to balance the need for usual in-clinic A1c testing against the need to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection, especially given their high-risk status for infection-related complications.  With this additional funding, the researchers will work with 20 primary care practices to examine the impact of COVID-19 on how providers assess glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Tailored solutions are needed to reinforce de-adoption of SMBG for patients who do not need it, while also ensuring timely and safe glycemic monitoring for all type 2 diabetes patients,” said Donahue.

Following their assessment of the pandemic’s impact on glucose monitoring, they will identify solutions to address barriers to A1c testing within the current healthcare climate, and integrate those solutions into their existing strategies for encouraging practices to de-adopt self-monitoring for patients with type 2 diabetes, not on insulin.

“The enhancement to this study has the potential to improve outcomes for patients living with non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes despite difficulties imposed by the pandemic,” said Young. “The research team plans to share our implementation strategies with other North Carolina health systems and nationally via the website we are developing for the Re-Think the Strip project.”

Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH, is a professor and vice chair of research at the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Family Medicine. She is a family physician and senior research fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. She is also the co-director of the North Carolina Network Consortium and serves on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Laura Young, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at the UNC Department of Medicine. In addition to her clinical work and research, Dr. Young spends a significant amount of her time at UNC working with trainees. She serves as the Dimock College Advisor within the School of Medicine Advising Program and as the Endocrinology Fellowship Program Director.