Researchers from the University of California and the University of Colorado, Denver conducted a study that found some patients with type one diabetes who are closely monitoring their condition with telehealth are experiencing better care during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating that telehealth monitoring could help avoid hospital admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis.
For the study, the team focused on two case studies of patients with type one diabetes being treated at home with telehealth. The first case study was of a 21-year-old man who reported COVID-19 symptoms. This patient was self quarantining with rising blood glucose levels and strongly positive urinary ketones. He shared glucose data with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which made it possible to make frequent insulin dose adjustments. This patient recovered without the need for physical interaction with the healthcare system.
The second case study was a 26-year-old woman with new-onset type one diabetes. She was seen on day one in a clinic for diabetes education and to get the technology necessary for telemedicine. She had high levels of glucose with ketosis and practiced ongoing management via telehealth. Her glucose values improved significantly by day six of treatment and the patient avoided hospital admission for hyperglycemia.
The outcomes of telehealth were similar to clinical outcomes without hospital admissions. Not only does this limit COVID-19 exposure, but it also saves a significant amount of money.
This study was published in Diabetes Tech and Therapeutics.