Sequential screening for diabetes—evaluation of a campaign in Swiss community pharmacies

  • Kurt E. HersbergerEmail author
  • Andrea Botomino
  • Maxime Mancini
  • Rudolf Bruppacher
Research Article



For early detection of persons at risk for type 2 diabetes, a combination of risk factor assessment and glucose measurement could be a promising approach and an opportunity for health promotion. The object of this study was to develop a sequential screening concept and to evaluate it in a national pharmacy based screening campaign.


Community pharmacies of the German speaking part of Switzerland participating in the national Self Care campaign “Stop diabetes-test now” offered a free of charge “sequential screening” with (a) diabetes risk assessment, (b) consecutive capillary blood glucose measurement and (c) assessment of the motivation for lifestyle change based on the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behaviour change. A 35 items data sheet served as a structured screening protocol and enabled quick and reliable documentation of all relevant data. Outcomes measures were: age, sex, cigarette smoking, total score of the ADA diabetes risk-factor questionnaire, family history of diabetes, body mass index, insufficient physical activity, blood pressure, capillary blood glucose, motivation for lifestyle change, counselling activities and triage decisions of the pharmacy team.


During the 5 weeks of spring 2002, 530 pharmacies screened a total of 93,258 persons (33.1% male, mean age 60.9 years ± 14.1 (SD)). Risk profile: family history of diabetes 26.4%; BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 49.3%; low physical activity 27.2%; elevated blood pressure 45.7%. Stratification into risk groups: < 2 risk factors 21.6%; ≥ 2 risk factors 71.5%; borderline glycaemia (FG 5.3–6.1 mmol/l, confirmed in a second measurement) 2.5% and hyperglycaemia (FG ≥ 6.1 mmol/1 or NFG ≥ 11.1 mmol/1) 4.4%.

Of all persons screened, 6.4% were referred to a physician and 73.7% got targeted advice with respect to physical activity and/or nutrition based on their specific risk profile.


The screening campaign attracted an important part of Swiss German speaking adults (2.4%). The sequential screening could successfully be implemented into pharmacy practice. Of the generally elderly persons screened, 6.9% were detected with suspicion for diabetes type 2 and 71.5% had at least two risk factors. This provided an opportunity to initiate targeted counselling regarding therapeutic lifestyle change.


Blood glucose measurement Community pharmacy Diabetes risk score Diabetes screening Evaluation Pharmacy practice Risk assessment Screening campaign Switzerland Triage 



We would like to thank Prof. Dr. U. Keller for support in development of the screening concept, Prof. J.␣Ruiz for assistance during the campaign and Prof. Dr. J. Drewe for support in statistical analysis. This work was funded by the Swiss Federation of Pharmacists, Health Promotion Switzerland and five Swiss health insurances (action d). We thank Bayer Diagnostics Switzerland for the blood glucose meters and educational support and all participating pharmacies. Potential conflicts of interest: none declared


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt E. Hersberger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrea Botomino
    • 1
  • Maxime Mancini
    • 2
  • Rudolf Bruppacher
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Clinical PharmacyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss College of General Practice/Family MedicineOrbeSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute for Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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