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Telehealth Proves Effective in Managing Type 2 Diabetes During COVID-19 Pandemic

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems worldwide faced unprecedented challenges, prompting a rapid shift towards telehealth to maintain patient care. One area of interest has been its impact on managing chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. This study highlights the effectiveness of telehealth interventions in improving glycemic control among patients with type 2 diabetes, presenting compelling evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Study Design and Methods

The research incorporated a systematic review and meta-analysis approach, examining data from 669 studies sourced from electronic databases like EMBASE, PubMed, and Scopus. After rigorous screening, twelve randomized controlled trials involving 1498 participants were selected for inclusion. The quality of these studies was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool, while statistical heterogeneity was evaluated through I² and Cochran’s Q tests. A random-effects model was applied to synthesize the outcomes, and the certainty of evidence was graded using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations (GRADE) framework.

Key Findings

Results from the meta-analysis revealed that telehealth interventions significantly reduced glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels among participants compared to those receiving usual care. The weighted-mean difference was -0.59 (95% CI -0.84 to -0.35, p

Actionable Insights

– Telehealth interventions can lead to significant reductions in HbA1C levels, indicating better glycemic control.
– Secondary benefits of telehealth include improvements in fasting blood sugar, body mass index, and low-density lipoprotein levels.
– Healthcare providers should consider integrating telehealth solutions for diabetes care, especially in circumstances limiting face-to-face interactions.
– Despite promising results, attention should be paid to the heterogeneity of study outcomes, and further research is needed to explore long-term impacts.

The study concludes that telehealth interventions can positively influence glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes and suggests that healthcare providers should leverage telehealth in diabetes management. However, caution is advised due to the variability in study results, and additional research should focus on the long-term effects of telehealth strategies.

Original Article: Int J Nurs Stud Adv. 2023 Dec 1;6:100169. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnsa.2023.100169. eCollection 2024 Jun.

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