Patients with diabetes can be connected to their doctors via telemedicine, which includes text messaging and Web portals, to manage the blood sugar levels, according to a new study.
"Our findings suggest that text messaging and Web portals may be especially effective mechanisms for linking providers to patients with diabetes," writes Natasha Wiebe, University of Alberta, Edmonton, with coauthors. "The use of SMS [short message service] text messaging may be feasible to communicate and motivate patients, which could result in positive outcomes."
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications to deliver health services which are a rapidly growing field. Telemedicine connects health care providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote locations. The current study reviewed the recent evidence on the effectiveness of telemedicine. The study included 111 randomized controlled trials conducted in the United States, Korea, Canada, Australia and other countries.
"Our systematic review showed that telemedicine may be a useful supplement to usual clinical care to control HbA1C [glycated hemoglobin], at least in the short term. Telemedicine interventions appeared to be most effective when they use a more interactive format, such as a Web portal or text messaging, to help patients with self-management," writes senior author Marcello Tonelli, University of Calgary.
In the last three decades, the prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled. The prevalence of diabetes was 382 million in 2013 and is expected to increase to 592 million in 2035. The complications of diabetes such as heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness can be prevented by ensuring good glycemic control.
The study is published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).