Growing Importance Of Teleconsultation For Diabetes Management

One of the most significant changes to the healthcare sector during the pandemic has been the widespread embrace of teleconsultation across clinical specialties.

This will ensure that the vulnerable categories of active cases in home isolation get the required medical help in a timely manner.
Teleconsultation has the potential to significantly bridge the existing gap in diabetes care in the country.

One of the most significant changes to the healthcare sector during the pandemic has been the widespread embrace of teleconsultation across clinical specialties. With increase in digital technology, this space is ever evolving, and India is witnessing growth for video consultations for non-transmittable diseases such as rheumatological (joint) diseases, mental health conditions, diabetes, heart diseases, to name a few.

One such common chronic condition that requires regular monitoring is Diabetes, as the blood glucose levels need to be in range and delay in screening, diagnosis or treatment can lead to diabetes-related complications. Care provided through teleconsultation can improve clinical and biochemical parameters, including a significant reduction in haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.

Dr. Ambrish Mithal, Chairman and Head – Endocrinology and Diabetology, Max Healthcare said, “Teleconsultation has witnessed a 500% increase in the past year and teleconsultation in diabetes care, is empowering patients by the day. Also, it was great to witness, in 2020, almost 44% of the teleconsultations were from non-metro cities, this shows us that there is huge scope to the growth of teleconsultation.”

With increasing accessibility to diabetes care through teleconsultation, the industry is witnessing breakthrough changes:

A Rapid Transition to a New Modality

People across the country have adapted well to this shift. Along with patients, even doctors are open to adopting various technologies such as connected glucose meters, continuous glucose monitoring systems, continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, closed-loop systems, digitalisation of health data, and diabetes-related apps for the prevention and management of the condition.

“80% of all telemedicine users actually experienced it for the first time in India in the past 2 years. With the pandemic leading to a growing digital adoption across the country, there is immense opportunity in the teleconsultation field. Technology gives people an opportunity to build confidence in managing their diabetes. They make conscious, considered decisions along with the doctor.”, added Dr. Mithal

Availability of monitoring tools

There are glucose monitoring devices designed for users to be able to check their glucose readings more simply and frequently, and data show that higher scanning frequency of the technology, significantly improves time in optimal glucose range. Continuous glucose monitoring devices such as FreeStyle Libre, help people track their blood glucose levels and calculate the time spent in desired glycemic range. These devices not only show the user the real-time glucose result but also a directional trend arrow showing where glucose levels are headed.

Keeping Patients Connected to Care

Teleconsultation in diabetes care, is empowering patients by the day. Patients are more well informed and aware about health programs today. They have become involved, increasing their participation to enhance the treatment journey. They have become are aware of the criticality of better participation from their end. This process has become easier and convenient with the help of glucose monitoring devices that are easily available in the market and are simple to use.

Dr. Ambrish Mithal also said, “Glucose monitoring devices allow users to share glucose data automatically with the doctor in real time which helps both patients and doctors make more informed decisions. This enables patients to make diet, physical activity, and medicines through these readings”

Teleconsultation has the potential to significantly bridge the existing gap in diabetes care in the country. With accessibility to diabetes care, people sitting in remote parts of the country can avail services of best doctors and quality care. This benefit will remain long even after the pandemic.

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