Diabetes prevention is a struggle in many areas because of poor ease of access to quality care. Many of the debilitating complications and health outcomes in patients with diabetes stem from a lack of both support in the home and local access to preventive care. Facilitating clinical intervention for patients with diabetes can mean the difference between saving or losing their leg and eyesight.
The TeleHealth Project consist of community patient compliance management, diabetes diagnosis, and prevention of amputation and early blindness. The services are simple, but critical, preventive measures for a patient with diabetes. We work with international medical centers, pharmacies, and community organizations to provide effective telemedicine and prescription monitoring services.
The TeleHealth Project promises to reduce health disparities, prevent diabetes, and improve health outcomes in communities struggling with managing the disease. We believe that a low technology, high touch, and patient-centered approach is critical in assuring sustainability, efficacy, and feasibility of the project in the underserved communities around the world that need it most.
- To achieve our goal of improved diabetes care for all, PSDCF and the TeleHealth Project partners will:
- Empower communities with comprehensive preventive diabetes care to help eradicate the incidence of diabetes-induced amputation and blindness.
- Promote preventive diabetes care in communities and support physicians in both managing their patient’s health and in their decision-making process.
- Set up easily accessible points of care for underserved populations in order to reduce the likelihood of uncontrolled diabetes.
“Community intervention, rather than digital notification, is necessary to motivate patient prevention and compliance.”
TeleWound: Amputation Prevention
The number of “wound experts” is trivial compared to the number of patients that exist globally. Even in the US, 15% of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers. In most rural places, access to a specialist and preventative wound care is rare. In developing countries, such access is almost impossible.
Complications arising from the diabetic foot are complex, costly, and result too frequently in amputation. In a 2015 study in the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, the amputation rate among diabetic foot patients in China was 19%. These poor health outcomes are easily preventable with better access to proper care.
TeleEye: Early Blindness Prevention
People with diabetes face a greater risk of developing early blindness due to eye complications. Similarly, to diabetes itself, retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma all progress symptomless until early blindness develops and clinical intervention becomes critical. According to the CDC, over one third of patients with diabetes are affected by related eye diseases. Many continue on to develop permanent vision damage.
Moreover, because of the sensitivity of the eye’s vasculature, retina degradation occurs immediately in type 2 diabetes. Through simple retinal imaging examinations, we can detect retinopathy degradation, diagnose diabetes, and prevent early blindness in the working population.
Patient Prescription Compliance: Treatment Failure Prevention
Preventive diabetes care for communities cannot be limited to data. After a patient is discharged, the physician rarely communicates until their next visit. Outside the hospital, physicians do not receive information of a non-compliant patient until intervention is critically necessary. The TeleHealth Project supports the organization of community networks to monitor prescription adherence and report to the physician care team.
Patient adherence is the likely cause why less than 50% of patients in the US are able to reach their glycemic goals. Once a patient is prescribed a plan of care, it is critical to monitor the patient’s compliance to the plan. The TeleHealth Project supports communities with patient compliance services that range from home safety assessments to prescription monitoring, and adjusted dependent on the culture and population demographics.