Glycemic Outcomes Well Managed Under Virtual Diabetes Care

May 18, 2020

A recent study shows that diabetes can be well managed with telehealth visits.

A recent study shows that diabetes can be well managed with telehealth visits. 

The study, published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, collected glycemic data from hospital patients at the University of North Carolina before and after the start COVID-19 pandemic. 

In response to the outbreak all diabetes services were transitioned to telehealth without any negative impact on blood sugar control.  Telehealth included a telephone interview with patients (or a family member or their primary nurse) each morning and occasional telemedicine visits by an endocrinologist. Glucose was measured by finger stick, but continuous glucose monitoring is an alternative.  The researchers concluded that glycemic control was similar with the transition to virtual care.

The authors say that this is proof that blood sugar management can be done with virtual visits.  These results could have larger implications for diabetes care where physicians are not available for in-person visits

"The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to find alternate ways to deliver quality care to patients with diabetes," says DTT Editor-in-Chief Satish Garg, MD, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver (Aurora). "The smooth transition to virtual care may have long-term implications especially for remote area consults where endocrinologists may not be available. The real unknown is if the payors will continue similar reimbursements after COVID is gone.”

Garg also added that the FDA recently authorized use of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for the inpatient setting, and UNC authorized for hospital inpatient use of CGM only last week.