Type 2 diabetes care in North Karelia Finland: Do area-level socio-economic factors affect processes and outcomes?

Maija Sikio, Markku Tykkylainen, Hilkka Tirkkonon, Paivi Kekalainen, James Dunbar, Tiina Laatikainen

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    Aims: This research assessed the impact of area-level socio-economic factors on the prevalence and outcomes of type 2 diabetes in North Karelia, Finland. Methods: All type 2 diabetes patients (n=10,204) were analyzed from the regional electronic patient database during the years 2011 and 2012. The patient's individual laboratory data was used to assess whether hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was measured and whether the recommended level of HbA1c <7% (<53mmol/l) was achieved. The variables describing socio-economic characteristics of postal code areas were retrieved from the database of Statistics Finland. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to determine associations. Results: HbA1c had been measured in 83% of patients. Over 70% of those with HbA1c measured reached the recommended level of HbA1c. The worse the area-level socio-economic status, the more probably HbA1c was not measured. Achieving the recommended HbA1c level was associated with being female and having a better area-level socio-economic status. The age-adjusted prevalence of type 2 diabetes was not linearly dependent on the socio-economic circumstances of the postal code areas. Conclusions: This study shows that socio-economic factors at the small area-level are associated with treatment outcomes. The information from the regional electronic patient database linked with area-level socio-economic information could be effectively utilized to improve diabetes care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)496-503
    Number of pages8
    JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


    • Area-level socio-economic status
    • Outcomes of care
    • Patient database
    • Quality of care
    • Type 2 diabetes


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