A recent article offers good news for diabetics: When patient information is monitored with telemedicine, outcomes improve. By digitizing data, such as blood glucose levels, caloric intake, weight, and exercise patterns, patients’ data can be transmitted to health professionals for analysis. As explained in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, software can identify patterns that lead to particular treatment recommendations for patients using telemedicine for diabetes.
In the future, the article describes, Internet-connected continuous glucose monitors, paired with cloud storage of data from insulin pumps and telemedicine systems, will become more common. In addition, the artificial pancreas—an autonomous device that adjusts insulin delivery according to the glucose level—will test patients’ troubleshooting skills; a remote assistance system, similar to General Motors’ OnStar system for emergencies, could provide advice in case of a system failure or send emergency assistance if the glucose level crashes.
A self-sustaining telemedicine system that automatically follows the patient may be the next step after home health care. Telemedicine is already being employed to monitor and transmit patient data, such as vital signs, from the patient’s home to the physician’s office; when an online video medicine consultation is needed, the simplest systems allow patients to connect virtually just by plugging in a cable and turning on the television. As technology and Internet connectivity continue to evolve, the future will bring many more options for convenient, quality health care delivery—for both patients and providers.
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