According to a recent article in Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, managing diabetes at home is about to become easier. Many types of data—such as blood glucose levels, food intake, and exercise patterns—can be measured, transmitted securely, and analyzed. So far, studies suggest that telemedicine for diabetes care can lead to better outcomes at lower costs.
Accountable care organizations (ACO) are encouraging the adoption of this technology, citing time and cost savings resulting from reduced travel and fewer in-person visits. On the other hand, traditional fee-for-service care providers tend to favor in-person visits, which have the highest reimbursement rates.
Currently, blood glucose monitors and continuous glucose monitors can be connected to the cloud to send information regarding glycemic patterns. In the future, we may see software that can interface with multiple products and analyze the data for indications of the patient’s metabolic state. And the artificial pancreas, which is used to treat type 1 diabetes, relies on the patient’s troubleshooting skills in case of technical difficulties; a remote assistance system based on uploaded data, similar to those offered by car manufacturers, could someday guide patients in correcting a system failure in order to avoid a crashing glucose level.
As telemedicine becomes more widely accepted by consumers, healthcare professionals, legislatures, and insurance companies, it will be intriguing to explore the latest applications of this evolving technology. Telemedicine for diabetes care is only the beginning.