Telemedicine: Bridging the Gap for Diabetes Patients

Telemedicine is the new frontier when it comes to giving patients better access to timely health care, by eliminating many of the traditional barriers patients face, such as time, distance, money, and doctor availability. From dermology and burn care to cardiology and stroke care, telemedicine practices are changing the way patients can receive care for the better.

30.3 million people currently live with diabetes in U.S. In Pennsylvania, 11.3 percent of adults reported being diagnosed with diabetes in 2016 alone, with many more living unaware they have the chronic disease or haven’t yet been officially diagnosed by a medical professional. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits, taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education, and keeping appointments with your health care team can greatly reduce its impact on your life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

For diabetes patients, the American Diabetes Association recommends doctor visits every three months to ensure they remain healthy. Because certified endocrinologists are scarce, diabetes patients often have to travel long distances and spend more money to receive the care they need. This is where telemedicine services can help.

According to the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, diabetes is well suited for being treated with telemedicine services. Because diabetes patients have better outcomes when their levels are monitored, telemedicine provides a way for patients’ numbers and other data to be stored and analyzed, such as blood glucose levels, time spent exercising, steps walked, calories ingested, medication doses administered, blood pressure and weight. With this information available, medical professionals can identify patterns for specific treatment recommendations and make decisions for diabetes management support in real time.

Diabetes is the nation’s seventh-leading cause of death, accounting for more than 79,500 deaths annually. It can contribute to heart disease and stroke, which are the leading and fifth leading causes of death in the U.S. Because so many people are affected by diabetes and long term effects the disease can cause, it is important that telemedicine services are available to make sure patients have the best outcomes possible. In addition to providing better outcomes, it doesn’t hurt that telemedicine also reduces patient costs and time spent to get treatment from a certified medical professional.