by Trisha Thacker
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth and digital technologies have become endocrinologists’ greatest assets for diabetes management. This is not a short-term change, but rather a step towards the long-term restructuring of diabetes care. The rising prevalence of diabetes highlights the large unmet need for technologies that bolster patient care and mitigate physician burden.
Schneider Children’s Hospital released a free E-book that guides healthcare professionals on shifting their diabetes clinic to the virtual setting. The 30-page book covers a variety of topics including maximizing patient engagement, remote data uploads, CPT codes for remote reimbursement, and using Dreamed’s Advisor Pro. Here are some of the key takeaways, to get in-depth information, please download the Schneider Children’s Hospital E-book.
One of the most important factors to regulate patient’s A1C levels is patient engagement – higher patient engagement is correlated with increased time in range. The virtual shift has made it increasingly difficult to monitor patient behaviors, and so virtual clinics need to put additional effort to achieve this. The E-Book shares actionable tips to maximize patient engagement. Since virtual meetings are easier to forget about, a crucial step is to set reminders before online meetings, which can be through email, call or even text messages. Another solution includes remote device data uploading prior to the meeting. This has to be customized to the patient’s needs since they have access to different technological resources and have varying levels of skill.
There are also factors to be kept in mind during the appointment itself. The healthcare professional must always join the call early and double-check the microphone and camera. They should also avoid distracting backgrounds and opt for a blank wall and quiet space to conduct the meeting. Following these simple and actionable steps can contribute to significant improvements in patient adherence, which translates to improvements in patient health.
HIPAA Compliant Communication Platforms
The E-book provides recommendations of HIPAA compliant platforms for video and audio calling. These include Zoom for Health, Doximity, Amwell (which has a new small-practice option) for video-calling. For audio calling, the options include Thera-Link, Doxy.me and TheraNest. To learn more about the cost and features of these options, check out the E-Book section on video/audio calls.
The Dreamed Diabetes AdvisorPro software is the ideal tool to enhance your virtual diabetes clinic. It works by pulling data that’s uploaded from the CGM, SMBG and insulin pump and analyzing the data through its proprietary algorithm. It gives the healthcare provider titration recommendations for insulin dosing and personalized management tips.
Transitioning to a virtual clinic is not just about going digital but blending digital and human capabilities – and the AdvisorPro does just that. It allows HCPs to review and edit recommendations and saves them time that they can spend on interacting with patients.
A word from own of our users
Julie Heuduck, a Family Nurse Practioner who is board certified in advanced diabetes management used the E-Book to help virtually transition the rural health clinic she works at. Here are some of her thoughts on the transition and the E-book:
What were the challenges you faced during your transition to go remote?
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we stopped seeing many patients, I knew that telemedicine was the way forward. However, I struggled with getting patients to answer our calls and come in for visits. I also had a difficult time figuring out the software programs that were HIPAA compliant.
How did the E-Book help with the remote transition?
The E-Book literally tells you everything – it gives you clear step by step instructions about how to make the remote transition – all you have to do is follow them. It gives you information on using Tidepool and Glooko and tells you how to upload and download. I found the section that talks about team management very insightful. From the secretary, to the nurse practioner, to IT – it is a team effort to achieve a successful remote clinic – and the E-Book emphasizes this.
I also found it helpful to know that Schneider Children Hospital demonstrated that all their T1D patients are now virtual – that is a big achievement! Several people told me that it’s impossible to manage diabetes virtually and after I saw that the largest T1D hospital is Israel successfully did it – I knew it could be done!