Telehealth During COVID-19 May Support Better Outcomes for Diabetes Patients

The authors found that telehealth services were facilitated by patients being able to easily share information with providers from equipment that managed CGM for diabetic ketosis and hyperglycemia.

The close monitoring of conditions through telehealth has become more possible due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has directly benefited some patients with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics (DTT).1

The recent study was able to demonstrate that the close monitoring of conditions with the appropriate technology effectively allowed for diabetes care and prevented hospital admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening problem for patients with diabetes.1

The authors of the study observed 2 patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), 1 patient of which had new onset and the other patient with established T1D. The authors found that telehealth services were facilitated by patients being able to easily share information with providers from equipment that managed continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for diabetic ketosis and hyperglycemia.1

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced dramatic changes in the delivery of health care even in acute situations like diabetic ketoacidosis via telehealth,” said DTT Editor-in-Chief Satish Garg, MD, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver (Aurora), in a press release. “The clinical outcomes are similar without any hospital admissions, thus saving significant cost.”2

Although both patients observed in the study had a higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), the authors found that both patients were able to effectively manage their condition with the help of their providers through virtual methods. By sharing their glucose data through CGM, they were able to make frequent insulin dose adjustments and increase fluid and carbohydrate intake as necessary. This virtual management also effectively prevented hospital admissions for both patients.1

Furthermore, the patient with new onset T1D was able to receive education on diabetes management remotely by certified diabetes care and education specialists.1 Although she had been seen on day 1 briefly at the clinic for diabetes education and to obtain the necessary technology, telehealth was able to effectively avoid any necessity for further in-person visits.2

REFERENCES

  • Peters AL, Garg S. The Silver Lining to COVID-19: Avoiding Diabetic Ketoacidosis Admissions with Telehealth. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. 2020. doi: 10.1089/dia.2020.0187.
  • Telehealth during COVID-19 may lead to better outcomes for diabetes patients [news release]. New Rochelle, NY: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; May 11, 2020. eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-05/mali-tdc051120.php. Accessed May 15, 2020.