Objectives: The usefulness of telemedicine (TM) in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been discussed in recent years. The aim of this study is to describe patients' perceptions about TM and to identify preferences on TM resources, in Spain.
Design: An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted using a structured questionnaire.
Participants: 1036 patients with T2DM accepted to participate in the study (response rate: 68%).
Results: Blood glucose values were recorded by 85.9% of the patients while data such as lifestyle habits were only recorded by 14.4% of the patients. Previous experience in TM was reported by 9.8% of the patients, out of which 70.5% were satisfied with its service and 73.5% considered that the use of TM had optimised their T2DM management. However, most of these patients noted aspects to be improved such as user-friendliness (81.4%), interaction with the medical team (78.4%) and time required for recording/transferring data (78.4%). Experienced patients had better perception about TM usefulness than naïve patients for all listed aspects (p<0.05). Among naïve patients, 38.2% expressed their willingness to participate in TM programmes, but only 4.7% were invited to do so. Patients considered that physicians' (77.5%) and pharmacists' (75.5%) encouragement can boost the use of TM.
Conclusions: In Spain, nearly 10% of patients with T2DM have experience with TM and it is well accepted, especially one based on glucometers. Nevertheless, in order to promote TM use, easier and time-saving programmes for patient-physician interaction should be optimised.
Keywords: epidemiology; general diabetes; telemedicine.
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