The utilization of video-conference shared medical appointments in rural diabetes care.
AIM: To explore whether Video-Shared Medical Appointments (video-SMA), where group education and medication titration were provided remotely through video-conferencing technology would improve diabetes outcomes in remote rural settings. METHODS: We conducted a pilot where a team of a clinical pharmacist and a nurse practitioner from Honolulu VA hospital remotely delivered video-SMA in diabetes to Guam. Patients with diabetes and HbA1c ≥7% were enrolled into the study during 2013-2014. Six groups of 4-6 subjects attended 4 weekly sessions, followed by 2 bi-monthly booster video-SMA sessions for 5 months. Patients with HbA1c ≥7% that had primary care visits during the study period but not referred/recruited for video-SMA were selected as usual-care comparators. We compared changes from baseline in HbA1c, blood-pressure, and lipid levels using mixed-effect modeling between video-SMA and usual care groups. We also analyzed emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. Focus groups were conducted to understand patient's perceptions. RESULTS: Thirty-one patients received video-SMA and charts of 69 subjects were abstracted as usual-care. After 5 months, there was a significant decline in HbA1c in video-SMA vs. usual-care (9.1±1.9 to 8.3±1.8 vs. 8.6±1.4 to 8.7±1.6, P=0.03). No significant change in blood-pressure or lipid levels was found between the groups. Patients in the video-SMA group had significantly lower rates of ED visits (3.2% vs. 17.4%, P=0.01) than usual-care but similar hospitalization rates. Focus groups suggested patient satisfaction with video-SMA and increase in self-efficacy in diabetes self-care. CONCLUSION: Video-SMA is feasible, well-perceived and has the potential to improve diabetes outcomes in a rural setting.
Tokuda, L; Lorenzo, L; Theriault, A; Taveira, TH; Marquis, L; Head, H; Edelman, D; Kirsh, SR; Aron, DC; Wu, W-C
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