Telehealth Lends Insight
As a platform for both clinical oversight and patient self-monitoring, telehealth allows for insight into patient status between clinical visits. Types of patient-generated health data include vital monitoring, patient responses to surveys/questions, and real-time video visits. And success rates in diabetes management as patients make lifestyle adjustments are evidenced by recent clinical trials.
This recently published randomized controlled trial explored the use of telehealth in the management of patients with type 2 diabetes. Subjects were randomly divided into a control group and an intervention group, with the control group receiving the usual care for type 2 diabetes, and the intervention group receiving a combination of telehealth with nurse case management.
The primary positive outcomes from the study were HbA1c levels. HbA1c was measured at baseline, and at three- and six-month follow-up appointments. At the six-month follow up, the patients in the telehealth intervention group demonstrated:
- Significantly lower HbA1c levels than the usual care group
- A significantly faster rate of decline in HbA1c levels compared to the usual care group
- Increased adherence to therapy
- Improved communication between patients and providers
And the findings from this study are consistent with other evidence supporting the case for managing diabetes with telehealth: A 2015 Cochrane Review examined the efficacy and feasibility of using telehealth with patients with diabetes and found that telehealth interventions result in significantly improved blood glucose control compared to usual care interventions.
Telehealth has the potential to change the way diabetes is managed by improving efficiency of care and enhancing quality of treatment, while simultaneously realizing reduced healthcare costs associated with diabetes management.