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Making Care Better as an APRN: Telehealth for Diabetes Management

 

Introduction

APRNs are often looking for ways to make care better in the community regarding patient care and improving patient outcomes. Telehealth is the use of technological platforms to deliver healthcare services including information, prevention, monitoring, and different medical care. Telemedicine is beneficial for patients to get preventive treatment and help long-time health (Haleem, Javaid, Singh, & Suman, 2021). APRNs can utilize telehealth through video conferencing or through chat platforms. Patients will have a readily available database to ask questions regarding medication administration, symptoms, and chronic condition specific questions. A chronic condition that would benefit greatly from telehealth is diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and impaired insulin secretion. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2023, about 38 million US adults have diabetes and about 1/5th of them are unaware of having it. Diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure, limb amputations, and blindness (CDC, 2023). The prevalence of diabetes has increased over the years due to poor diet, lifestyle changes, and lack of physical activity. APRNs play an important role in managing diabetes, however if a patient is noncompliant with treatment, it is often difficult to help them manage their own disease. Telehealth could help deliver care and improve patient compliance to those who are unable or unwilling to attend in-person doctor appointments.

Diabetic patients can benefit from telehealth by sending in their glucose levels through text chat, watching videos on glucose support, and meeting with their APRN to have their insulin and supplies refilled. Patients will no longer have to wait in waiting rooms, which often can prevent patients from going to their appointments as often as they should (Haleem et al, 2021). Telehealth can empower APRNs to make care better in the community by providing high-quality diabetic care to the population, especially those who face barriers to healthcare. Those who face these barriers may include limited access to transportation. The APRN has bedside experience, showing empathy to their patients as well as further education on disease diagnosing and management. If an APRN is treating a patient through telehealth, they will be able to work with other providers such as podiatrists, nutritionists, and ophthalmologists.

Proposed Method of MCB

Telemedicine is a support tool that can be used for patients with diabetes to facilitate better decisions by both patients and their health care providers (Klonoff, 2009). There are systems available to help organize data used to manage diabetes. This may include patient-collected data, such as blood glucose levels and blood pressure, laboratory values, behavioral information, such as a dietary and physical activity log, medication lists, any subjective symptoms the patient may be experiencing, and any pertinent event data, such as hospitalizations (Klonoff, 2009). Telemedicine provides more frequent communication with providers and readily available information to patients, which ultimately improves patient compliance and outcomes, including lower A1C levels.

In an effort to make care better for patients diagnosed with diabetes, patient contact will be increased through a telemedicine system. The increase of patient contact has been shown to improve patient motivation, therapy adherence, and metabolic control (Aberer et al., 2021). On the telemedicine system, patients will be able to have their treatment plan in one organized place. As discussed earlier, this system will organize data, which is beneficial for the provider, as well. Health care providers can keep a closer eye on each patient’s treatment plan. For example, as the patient logs their blood glucose levels, the provider can monitor the readings and decide if any medications need to be adjusted and/or changed.

To ensure that patient’s remain compliant with their treatment plan, phone calls can be scheduled in the system in lieu of outpatient visits. The convenience of phone calls, rather than patients having to travel to see their providers in an office and deal with wait times, will increase patient satisfaction along with lowering the burden of dealing with a chronic disease. In addition to scheduled phone calls, a hotline can be established for patients needing a quick response. The hotline can address issues, such as monitoring device problems, questions on medication administration, and may be used in the event of a possible emergency (Aberer et al., 2021).

Virtual training sessions and online resources will be a component of the telemedicine system. The management of diabetes may be very stressful for some patients. The use of readily available online resources may help to decrease stress levels in a patient managing their diabetes at home. Virtual training sessions can show patients how to use their glucose monitoring devices, how to take at home blood pressures, and how to keep a log of both of those. The virtual training sessions will also include what the patient should do with any abnormal results. Online resources will include education on diabetic foot care, nutrition, exercise regimen, and medication management tools.

 

Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8590973/

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