COVID-19: Study evaluates telemedicine use by people with type 1 diabetes
medwireNews: A questionnaire study provides insights into the use and perception of telemedicine among people with type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Type 1 diabetes might be particularly well suited to telemedicine because a lot of consultations are mostly based around review of glucose data and conversations about therapy,” and there is “increasing use of continuous glucose monitoring, insulin pumps, and smart insulin pens alongside cloud- or screen-based data-sharing,” said Sam Scott (University of Bern, Switzerland) at the virtual 56th EASD Annual Meeting.
Scott and colleagues distributed their online questionnaire via social media between 24 March and 5 May 2020, and 7477 people from 89 countries responded. The majority of respondents were from the USA (40.6%), UK (17.5%), or Switzerland (9.8%), and most commonly fell into the 25–34 years (29%) or 35–44 years (24%) age categories. A total of 68% of respondents were women.
Overall, 28% of participants said they had taken part in remote consultations, while 31% said they planned to use telemedicine in the future, and approximately 80–90% of respondents across all age categories said that they thought telemedicine was useful.
Of the remote consultations, 72% were done using the telephone and 28% using video, which Scott said “probably isn’t ideal for people who are using the phone calls because they are not optimizing the potential to share data via screens with their endocrinologist.”
He added: “It would be useful in the future to know whether [the] number [of people using video calls] had increased.”
The team also asked respondents about COVID-19 risk, testing, and treatment access, with 67% reporting that they had higher perceived risk than the average person. Of the 5871 individuals who answered questions about testing, 97.5% had not been tested for SARS-CoV-2, while 2.1% had tested negative and 0.4% positive. The majority of respondents reported having no issues with access to their diabetes medications.
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