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The utilization of video-conference shared medical appointments in rural diabetes care.

Tokuda L, Lorenzo L, Theriault A, Taveira TH, Marquis L, Head H, Edelman D, Kirsh SR, Aron DC, Wu WC. The utilization of video-conference shared medical appointments in rural diabetes care. International journal of medical informatics. 2016 Sep 1; 93:34-41.

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AIM: To explore whether Video-Shared Medical Appointments (video-SMA), where group education and medication titration were provided remotely through video-conferencing technology would improve diabetes outcomes in remote rural settings. METHODS: We conducted a pilot where a team of a clinical pharmacist and a nurse practitioner from Honolulu VA hospital remotely delivered video-SMA in diabetes to Guam. Patients with diabetes and HbA1c = 7% were enrolled into the study during 2013-2014. Six groups of 4-6 subjects attended 4 weekly sessions, followed by 2 bi-monthly booster video-SMA sessions for 5 months. Patients with HbA1c = 7% that had primary care visits during the study period but not referred/recruited for video-SMA were selected as usual-care comparators. We compared changes from baseline in HbA1c, blood-pressure, and lipid levels using mixed-effect modeling between video-SMA and usual care groups. We also analyzed emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. Focus groups were conducted to understand patient''s perceptions. RESULTS: Thirty-one patients received video-SMA and charts of 69 subjects were abstracted as usual-care. After 5 months, there was a significant decline in HbA1c in video-SMA vs. usual-care (9.1±1.9 to 8.3±1.8 vs. 8.6±1.4 to 8.7±1.6, P = 0.03). No significant change in blood-pressure or lipid levels was found between the groups. Patients in the video-SMA group had significantly lower rates of ED visits (3.2% vs. 17.4%, P = 0.01) than usual-care but similar hospitalization rates. Focus groups suggested patient satisfaction with video-SMA and increase in self-efficacy in diabetes self-care. CONCLUSION: Video-SMA is feasible, well-perceived and has the potential to improve diabetes outcomes in a rural setting.

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