Objective: This study assessed the effectiveness, safety, and costs of the Diabetes Tele Management System (DTMS(®); Dr. Jothydev Kesavadev, Jothydev's Diabetes and Research Center, Kerala, India)-based health care in type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients in South India.
Research design and methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records in our Center. The study sample comprised T2D patients enrolled in DTMS-based management, 30-75 years old, eligible for a glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) target <6.5% and actively participating in various components of DTMS such as regular reporting of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) values and dose adjustments via telemedicine. We analyzed HbA1c, lipid profile, and other parameters measured at the first visit and on subsequent physical visits at months 3 and 6 and estimated the incidence of hypoglycemia.
Results: We analyzed records of 1,000 subjects with 6-month follow-up data (mean age, 53.2 ± 9.8 years; 64% male). Patients had an average of 17 ± 2 telemedicine follow-ups and reported 66,745 SMBG values over 6 months. The mean ± SD HbA1c value was 8.5 ± 1.4% at the initial visit and was reduced to 6.3 ± 0.6% at 6 months (P<0.0001). The rate of SMBG values <70 mg/dL was approximately 0.04/patient/month, with 84% patients reporting no hypoglycemia. The recurring extra cost to patient for DTMS, not considering cost of oral drugs and insulin, was equivalent to 9.66 U.S. dollars/month.
Conclusions: DTMS, based on telemedicine follow-up and multidisciplinary care with SMBG-based monitoring, appears to be safe and cost-effective in the intensive treatment of T2D without serious co-morbidities. This system also avoids limitations of a traditional health care such as the need for very frequent physical visits for each and every drug dose adjustment, diet, and exercise advice.