Diabetes Telehealth: Tips for a Successful Virtual Visit

Early last year, if someone told you that your diabetes health care — diabetes provider appointments, diabetes self-management education sessions, follow-up with office staff and more — would soon occur as telehealth visits, you might have been more than surprised. Fast forward to 2021, and we are in the midst of the unprecedented times of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19[1]) and its impact on health care. The use of telehealth, which is the provision of care outside of the healthcare facility by means of technologyhas become widely utilizedIn fact, telehealth has grown at such an incredible rate in response to COVID-19 that it’s estimated that by the end of 2020, there were over 1 billion sessions between patients and their healthcare providers worldwide.  

Why has telehealth grown as an alternative to inperson healthcare visits?  

There are several main reasons for this trend. 

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Accessibility. 

Telehealth visits can be done on any smartphone, tablet or laptop that has internet capability. 

Convenience. 

These visits can be done virtually anywhere, anytime with the appropriate privacy considerations 

Cost. 

Telehealth visits can save time and money. Logging on for a visit instead of appearing in person limits the time you might need to take off work for a diabetes care appointment and provides cost savings on items such as gas, parking or bus fare.  

Safety. 

This type of visit allows you to be seen by your diabetes care team members without worry of being in contact with others who might be ill. 

Is telehealth a good alternative for a person with diabetes? 

The answer is yes. If you have diabetes, telehealth can be a great option compared to an inperson visit with your diabetes care team[2]. How good of an alternative is it? Research has shown that for people with diabetes who received their diabetes care via telehealth, their blood glucose control was as good as it was for those who received care through in-person visits with their diabetes care provider. In another study, which looked at people with diabetes who received diabetes self-management training/education (DSMT/E) from their diabetes care and education specialist via telehealth, patients experienced a decrease of 1.1% in their HbA1c[3] (A1C; a measure of glucose control over the previous two to three months), along with an increase in their diabetes knowledge scores. In other words, not only did they see a decrease in their A1C, but the participants also developed a better understanding about their diabetes at the same time. 

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Is telehealth appropriate for everyone who has diabetes?  

Just as different medications are necessary to meet the varied needs of people with diabetes, different approaches to diabetes care are required to best meet everyone’s management needsTo help you decide whether telehealth is right for you, consider the following questions: 

If you’re not able to answer “yes” to all these questions, with some minor adjustments, you may need to reconsider telehealthIf your answer to any is “no,” be sure to speak with your diabetes care team about instructions they may have for using their telehealth platform or for scheduling a telephone or in-office visit instead to make sure you receive optimal care. It is also important to note that telehealth appointments should not be used for any situations that are critical or require immediate attention. 

I have scheduled my first telehealth diabetes session. What are the next steps to make it as successful as possible? 

Telehealth may be a convenient addition to your routine 

While a face-to-face visit still might be the best choice for some people and for some health issues, telehealth is certainly a convenient, affordable alternative to an inperson visit for diabetes care. By ensuring you have acceptable technology to access your appointment and you are fully prepared with questions and information, you can increase the chances for a successful telehealth session for both you and your diabetes care team 

Want to learn more about telehealth? Read “2020 Health Trends: Try or Pass?”[7]

Endnotes:
  1. COVID-19: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/coronavirus/
  2. diabetes care team: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/about-diabetes/diabetes-basics/diabetes-support-system/members-diabetes-care-team/
  3. HbA1c: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/lowering-a1c-levels-naturally/
  4. sign up for our free newsletter: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/newsletter/
  5. blood glucose: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/blood-sugar-chart/
  6. blood pressure: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/treating-high-blood-pressure/
  7. “2020 Health Trends: Try or Pass?”: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/general-health-issues/2020-health-trends-try-pass/

Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/diabetes-telehealth-tips-for-a-successful-virtual-visit/


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