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Rural Patients Using Clinical Pharmacist and Telemedicine to Treat Diabetes Show improvement

Telemedicine involves remotely treating and diagnosing patients. A study in the North Carolina Medical Journal has proven that patients who suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes benefited from a telemedicine program.

Working with over 10 care facilities in North Carolina, between the years of 2013-2016, the program featured a diverse group of physicians, psychologists and physical therapists who worked alongside the patients. The program also worked with pharmacists at critical steps along the way, treating formerly neglected patients whose type 2 diabetes had been allowed to run its course, without proper medical treatment.

The majority of these patients lived in rural areas and were unable to locate adequate health care practitioners. The Health Resources & Services Administration of United States sponsored the telemedicine program.

The patients engaged in multiple teleconference appointments, working with the health care team using telemedicine systems for various assessments. The patients were studied for adherence, insulin injection techniques and their general knowledge of diabetic conditions. Pharmacy experts were able to analyze the data within the patient’s medical records to further assist patients in knowledge of glucose and proper usage of diabetic medications.

Patients became knowledgeable about specific medications and correct self-management techniques, including addressing proper dietary issues and exercise techniques. The pharmacists worked on improving various aspects of the patients care plan, working on lifestyle interventions and condition monitoring.

Health care practitioners from a multitude of disciples would all focus on a single patient together and indicate effective interventions. Dietitians worked with pharmacists to create effective diet and insulin coordination efforts.

More than one thousand telecare visits were coordinated over the span of the program, and over 350 patients were assisted, with an average of 3 to 4 appointments per patient.

Health information such as weight, hemoglobin counts and lipoprotein densities were reported by the health team. They found that the majority of the patients showed signs of depression. However, towards the end of the study more than two thirds of those same patients noted a general improvement from these symptoms.

The same health care team was able to make comparisons between the telemedicine treatment and personal care. The results were almost identical.