Adult patients with type 2 diabetes and complex care needs receiving endocrinology treatment through telemedicine alone show worse glycemic outcomes compared with those receiving treatment either in-person or in mixed-care models.
The findings contrast with some previous studies showing similar glycemic outcomes with telemedicine care vs in-person care for type 2 diabetes management.
The study is believed to be the first to examine telemedicine care outcomes specifically in the endocrinology setting and based on clinical factors that affect treatment complexity.
- The retrospective cohort study included 3778 adults with type 2 diabetes in a single, large integrated US health system who had received either telemedicine-only, in-person, or a mix of telemedicine and in-person care between May and October 2020.
- Patients were followed up through May 2022 and evaluated for estimated A1c change after 12 months within each treatment cohort, as well as factors associated with any changes.
- Of the patients, 1182 received telemedicine-only, 1049 received in-person, and 1547 received mixed care. Mean ages in the groups ranged from 57 to 63 years, and women made up between 55% and 63%.
- Over the 12-month evaluation period, patients receiving telemedicine-only care had no significant changes or improvements in adjusted A1c (−0.06; P = .55), those receiving in-person care had an improvement of 0.37% (P P = .004).
- The glycemic outcome patterns were similar among patients with a baseline A1c of 8% or higher.
- Of those prescribed multiple daily injections vs no insulin, estimated changes in A1c were 0.25% higher for those receiving telemedicine than for those receiving in-person care (P = .03).
- No associations were observed between changes in A1c and comorbidities.
- Regarding reasons for the differences, the authors noted that “the strategies to support glycemic improvement that are available during in-person appointments have not consistently been translated to telemedicine care.”
- Essential components of telemedicine such as self-management education support may not currently be routinely available through telemedicine or at the point-of-care during telemedicine visits, they added.
- “In our prior work in this care setting, practitioners described how inferior availability of glucose data limited their ability to intensify treatment through telemedicine.”
- “Implementation of approaches to overcome these differences, such as team-based virtual care and technological tools to automate blood glucose data sharing, are needed to ensure all patients receive high-quality diabetes care regardless of care modality.”
- “These findings suggest that patients with type 2 diabetes who rely on telemedicine alone to access endocrinology care may require additional support to achieve glycemic goals,” the authors reported.
- “Since some patients with barriers to in-person endocrinology care will continue to rely on telemedicine to access care, structured approaches to ensure routine delivery of high-quality team-based diabetes care are needed,” they asserted.
- “Translation of successful strategies from clinical trials into routine telemedicine care, especially targeted toward adults with more complex diabetes, is critical to improve clinical outcomes for patients who rely on this care modality.”
The study was conducted by first author Margaret F. Zupa, MD, of the division of endocrinology and metabolism, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, and colleagues.
It was published on December 6, 2023, in JAMA Network Open.
While demographic differences between the groups were included as covariates, the treatment modality cohorts were not balanced based on baseline characteristics that could be confounders.
Various factors, such as treatment complexity, glycemic control, and transportation barriers, could have affected whether patients received care with telemedicine; therefore, causal associations could not be established.
The study received funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Pittsburgh Foundation, and Fraternal Order of the Eagles Charity Foundation Diabetes Fund. The authors’ disclosures are detailed in the study.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/telemedicine-diabetes-care-associated-worse-outcomes-2023a1000uui?src=rss
Publish date : 2023-12-11 10:40:25
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