Diabetes telehealth solutions: improving self-management through remote initiation of continuous glucose monitoring uri icon

abstract

  • The purpose of this study was to evaluate feasibility of initiating continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) through telehealth as a means of expanding access. Adults with type 1 diabetes (N=27) or type 2 diabetes using insulin (N=7) and interest in starting CGM selected a CGM system (Dexcom G6 or Abbott FreeStyle Libre), which they received by mail. CGM was initiated with a certified diabetes care and education specialist providing instruction via videoconference or phone. The primary outcome was days per week of CGM use during the last four weeks. HbA1c was measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Participant self-reported outcome measures were also evaluated. All 34 participants (mean age 46 ± 18 years; 53% female, 85% white) were using CGM at 12 weeks, with 94% using CGM at least six days/week in weeks 9-12. Mean HbA1c decreased from 8.3 ± 1.6 at baseline to 7.2 ± 1.3 at 12 weeks (P<0.001) and mean time in range (70-180 mg/dL, 3.9-10.0 mmol/L) increased from an estimated 48% ± 18% to 59% ± 20% (P<0.001), an increase of ~2.7 hours/day. Substantial benefits of CGM to quality of life were observed, with reduced diabetes distress, increased satisfaction with glucose monitoring and fewer perceived technology barriers to management. Remote CGM initiation was successful in achieving sustained use and improving glycemic control after 12 weeks as well as improving quality of life indicators. If widely implemented, this telehealth approach could substantially increase the adoption of CGM and potentially improve glycemic control for people with diabetes using insulin.

publication date

  • 2020