Diabetes Tele-education Programs
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Increasing Access to Diabetes Care and Education through Teleconferencing Technology
Teleconferencing technology has tremendous potential to reduce or eliminate the “diabetes education gap” in rural areas of Virginia. The same technology that makes it possible for physicians to diagnose and treat patients interactively through a remote video link is also adaptable, effective, and economical for patient and professional education purposes.
Since 2006, the Virginia Center for Diabetes Professional Education (VCDPE) has offered diabetes patient self-management tele-education programs to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), health districts, small rural hospitals, community health centers, and facilities for older citizens that are located in areas of the state with higher-than-average risk for diabetes. This innovative educational initiative is currently being supported by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the UVA Office of Telemedicine.
In the last several years, we have expanded the areas for participant programs to include, in addition to the southwestern and northern neck areas of Virginia, the south central area as well. We offer several different programs, each on multiple dates, each spring and fall.
From 2008 to 2013, the Diabetes Tele-Education Program served 2,238 participants at 57 sites across the state. Responses to the program have been overwhelmingly favorable. Almost all diabetes patients who have participated in the program tell us they feel better able to manage their diabetes as a result of what they learned.
In addition, participants report that instructors are very knowledgeable, with good teaching skills and use of interactive teaching techniques (e.g., meal planning using plates and food models; demonstrating use of glucose log books, meters and insulin pens; exercising with resistance bands).
The full 2013 Final Report can be downloaded here.