Assessing the Effect of Clinical Inertia on Diabetes Outcomes: a Modeling Approach

Maria F. Correa, Yan Li, Hye Chung Kum, Mark A. Lawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: There are an increasing number of newer and better therapeutic options in the management of diabetes. However, a large proportion of diabetes patients still experience delays in intensification of treatment to achieve appropriate blood glucose targets—a phenomenon called clinical inertia. Despite the high prevalence of clinical inertia, previous research has not examined its long-term effects on diabetes-related health outcomes and mortality. Objective: We sought to examine the impact of clinical inertia on the incidence of diabetes-related complications and death. We also examined how the impact of clinical inertia would vary by the length of treatment delay and population characteristics. Design: We developed an agent-based model of diabetes and its complications. The model was parameterized and validated by data from health surveys, cohort studies, and trials. Subjects: We studied a simulated cohort of patients with diabetes in San Antonio, TX. Main Measures: We examined 25-year incidences of diabetes-related complications, including retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disease. Key Results: One-year clinical inertia could increase the cumulative incidences of retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy by 7%, 8%, and 18%, respectively. The effects of clinical inertia could be worse for populations who have a longer treatment delay, are aged 65 years or older, or are non-Hispanic whites. Conclusion: Clinical inertia could result in a substantial increase in the incidence of diabetes-related complications and mortality. A validated agent-based model can be used to study the long-term effect of clinical inertia and, thus, inform clinicians and policymakers to design effective interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • agent-based modeling
  • clinical inertia
  • diabetes
  • diabetes complications


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the Effect of Clinical Inertia on Diabetes Outcomes: a Modeling Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this