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In a journal article published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, first author Morgan Jones, MD, said transitioning to virtual care models does not limit the glycemic outcomes of inpatient diabetes care

Telehealth visits for patients with diabetes appear to show positive results, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. Morgan Jones, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology and metabolism at the UNC School of Medicine, is the first author.

After collecting data at UNC Medical Center before and after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the study investigators found that transitioning to virtual care did not limit glycemic outcomes of inpatient diabetes care. In an effort to reduce PPE use and decrease potential exposures between provider and patient, the forms of telehealth included a phone call interview to the patient (or family member if patient was unavailable or primary nurse) each morning by an endocrinologist. Reports included finger stick blood glucose (FSBG) or serum blood glucose tests less than 70 mg/dL or greater than 180 mg/dL. The proportion of FSBG results varied from week to week before and after implementing virtual care but overall showed fair consistency.

Also, rates of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia did not significantly differ after transitioning. Data suggested that using virtual care for diabetes management in the hospital was feasible and proved to have similar outcomes compared to traditional face-to-face care. Researchers say these findings may benefit inpatients with hyperglycemia in dispersed communities, especially in remote places where specialized diabetes care may not be available. Telehealth also may have the potential to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections in the future.

Media contact: Brittany Phillips