Telemedicine Improves Diabetes Care in Schools

June 1, 2009

Researchers from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, have found telecommunication to be a valuable tool in helping school nurses and children manage diabetes.

Researchers from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, have found telecommunication to be a valuable tool in helping school nurses and children manage diabetes.

Forty-one students 5-14 years of age with type 1 diabetes participated in the study. All of the participating children received routine care. Additionally, letters with diabetes care instructions were sent to the school nurses, all children “visited the diabetes center at SUNY Medical University every three months, and parents, children, and school nurses communicated with the center via phone as needed.” Twenty-three of the children were placed in an additional telemedicine intervention program, which included attending “video conferences with the school nurse and the diabetes center monthly to discuss treatment orders. Their glucose readings were [also] sent to the center via the telemedicine unit, and the diabetes nurse practitioners at the center made adjustments to insulin treatments as needed.”

During the first six months of the study, “the telemedicine group experienced improved blood sugar control and fewer visits to the Emergency Department and/or hospitalizations due to their diabetes. The telemedicine program was well accepted by the participants, with more than 90% stating they would use the program again.”

Furthermore, lead researcher Dr. Roberto Izquierdo found that children in the telemedicine program were “more likely to complete the prescribed diabetes care related tasks, which can lead to improved management of the disease.”

Results of the study were published in The Journal of Pediatrics. To access the study abstract, please click here.