Validity Study of Video Teleconsultation for the Management of Diabetes: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.
BACKGROUND: A large proportion of diabetes patients do not receive a basic minimum of standard care. Telemedicine holds the promise of improving access to health care. However, the validity of remote consultation for diabetes has not been well researched. This pilot randomized control trial was designed to evaluate the agreement on prescription decisions of endocrinologists between two consultation formats: videoconferencing and face-to-face (in-person) consultation.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventy-three patients were randomized to telemedicine (n=36) and reference group (n=37). Each study patient in the telemedicine group received one face-to-face consultation and one video consultation. The reference group received two face-to-face consultations. The paired consultations for each patient were performed by two different endocrinologists. The level of agreement between endocrinologists was evaluated by comparing their recommendations on antidiabetes and cardioprotective medications.
RESULTS: The level of agreement between two endocrinologists on changing antidiabetes drugs was 64% in the telemedicine group and 78% in the reference group. Although the level of agreement was lower when one of the consultations was provided via videoconference, the difference was not significant. The level of agreement on changing cardiovascular drugs was 78% in the telemedicine group and 76% in the reference group, again not significantly different.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate the preliminary evidence on the validity of recommendations made by endocrinologists via video consultation. Known limitations of videoconferencing for clinical purposes did not have remarkable impact on the outcome of consultation in terms of adjustment of patient's medications. Video teleconsultation can substitute for a considerable proportion of conventional outpatient specialty consultations for people with diabetes.
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