Telemedicine has the potential to improve care for patients with diabetes and significantly reduce healthcare costs. Telehealth programs increase access to healthcare and provide solutions to many healthcare inefficiencies that negatively impact patients with diabetes. A recent meta-analysis sought to prove this very point by comparing telemedicine to usual care among patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Patients with chronic diseases are often burdened with psychological distress. The overwhelming nature of living with a chronic disease can result in stress and other mental health comorbidities that negatively influence disease management. Patients with diabetes, for example, commonly experience depressive symptoms and in turn have difficulty adhering to treatment protocols. These individuals are less likely to engage in regular glucose self-monitoring and are therefore at increased risk of detrimental clinical outcomes, like nephropathy, retinopathy, hospitalization, and death.
Telemedicine continues to grow as a solution to increase access to healthcare. Patients living in rural areas stand to gain immense benefits from telehealth because it can reduce barriers related to cost and travel. A recent study sought to demonstrate the efficacy of telehealth in reducing these burdens for patients with diabetes living in rural Georgia and Alabama.
As the aging population grows and as chronic diseases become increasingly prevalent, healthcare must be accessible beyond hospital walls. Patients living with chronic disease are often not hospital bound. They can, and typically prefer to, live at home. The boundaries of healthcare must adapt to care for these individuals.
Diabetes is a highly prevalent issue in the United States. Over 29 million people in the US suffer from diabetes, with rural populations being particularly affected. Poorly controlled diabetes is accompanied by a wide array of medical complications, in addition to significant financial burden. It is estimated that diabetes and its associated comorbidities account for $245 billion in total annual health expenditures.