Background: The Informatics for Diabetes Education and Telemedicine (IDEATel) project demonstrated that a telemedicine intervention can improve glycemic, lipid, and blood pressure control. The focus of the current study was to evaluate factors associated with primary care providers' (PCPs') decision on whether to follow recommendations from the remote diabetes team in Upstate New York.
Materials and methods: In the intervention group, diabetes educators videoconferenced with patients monthly to download and review glucose and blood pressure readings, diabetes-related issues, and laboratory data. These were reviewed with an endocrinologist, and recommendations to change therapy were sent to the PCPs. At annual visits, participants completed the Diabetes Symptom Checklist-Type 2 symptom severity score and Impact of Telemedicine surveys.
Results: Factors that increase the acceptance rate of IDEATel recommendations included longer time in the study (p=0.0052), changing medication dose as opposed to starting or stopping a medication (p<0.0001), adjusting glucose-lowering agents compared with antihypertensive or antilipid medications (p<0.0001), higher total Diabetes Symptom Checklist-Type 2 symptom severity score (p=0.045), greater number of glucose readings submitted by participants (p=0.014), and high score on surveys measuring impact of telemedicine on patient's knowledge, adherence, and satisfaction (p=0.0023).
Conclusions: Recommendations for change in glycemic control medications, delivered remotely by a diabetes team to PCPs, were better accepted over time. Results support the use of a team-based telemedicine program to help PCPs improve diabetes care.
Keywords: IDEATel study; diabetes case management; diabetes mellitus; telemedicine.