Controlling diabetes with telemedicine

Controlling diabetes with telemedicine

January 07, 2020
Gigi Sorenson
By Gigi Sorenson

Numerous public campaigns such as National Diabetes Month have been created to bring awareness to the disease in hopes of improving outcomes for patients. Most people have knowledge of diabetes, as practically everyone has a friend or family member who struggles with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Everyone knows the role sugar, insulin, and medication plans in management. Most people are also aware that regular monitoring of blood sugar, and regular trips to a physician, are beneficial to proper management. What remains overlooked, however, is the role telemedicine can play in making this process easier. Telemedicine has advanced to such a degree that it is helping diabetes patients to manage their condition effectively from anywhere and live healthier, happier lives.

Dr. David G. Marrero, director of the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center for Border Health Disparities in Tucson, says, “Diabetes may be the most serious public health crisis of our time.” And he isn’t wrong. Afterall, an estimated 30 million Americans live with diabetes, lowering general health outcomes for this population while increasing costs for the healthcare system. As staggering as it sounds, more than 84 million people in the U.S. alone are at risk of acquiring the chronic disease. And if they acquire it, they are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke, and can experience kidney failure, blindness, amputation and depression. Over 83,000 people die of diabetes each year.

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That is pretty staggering when you think about it. The medical community can improve the situation with the help of prevention and better management.

Controlling a crisis with telemedicine
While many patients have yet to dip their toes in the telehealth water, patients with diabetes are already active participants in their own care plans. Many inject themselves with insulin or monitor their blood sugar levels at home and remotely share the results. Progressing to other forms of virtual care can feel like a natural next step, meaning diabetes patients may be best equipped to be telemedicine adopters.

So, what does telemedicine mean for those with diabetes? Telemedicine offers six convenient and clinically responsible advantages when it comes to managing diabetes:

1. Consistent monitoring. Blood sugar spot checks offer just a momentary glimpse into a patient’s ongoing status. Telehealth can enable round-the-clock monitoring, giving providers a 24-hour profile and a better understanding of the patient’s condition.

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