Detection and remediation of medically urgent situations using telemedicine case management for older patients with diabetes mellitus

Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2007 Jun;3(3):485-9.


Introduction: Detection and response to medically urgent situations in patients with diabetes mellitus can improve the process and outcomes of care and potentially decrease morbidity and mortality. We examined the detection and remediation of medically urgent situations among older patients receiving telemedicine case management for diabetes.

Methods: In the setting of a randomized trial, 338 patients in the intervention group and living in upstate New York received a home telemedicine unit to transmit blood glucose and blood pressure values to a nurse case manager, videoconference with a nurse or dietitian every 4-6 weeks and access educational websites. The educators met with a supervising endocrinologist 4-5 times weekly and clinical recommendations were proposed to the primary care providers via mail, fax, or phone.

Results: Over a 36 month period, 67 medically urgent situations were identified and addressed (1.9 events/month). Some of these situations were potentially life-threatening, including major drug contraindications (N = 24), other medically urgent situations (N = 19), and medical urgent conditions (ie, unstable angina) (N = 24).

Conclusion: The interaction via telemedicine in rural upstate New York between patients with diabetes mellitus, a diabetes care team, and primary care providers can successfully identify and remediate medically urgent situations.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; medically urgent situations; telemedicine.