Tackling weight loss and diabetes with video chats
Many patients with type 2 diabetes involved in a telehealth program reduced their blood sugar, lowered or halted their use of insulin, and lost 5 percent of their body weight after 10 weeks, according to new research.
The study, sponsored by San Francisco-based Virta Health, was published recently in JMIR Diabetes. Patients in the program video-chat with a remote Virta doctor, who consults with their primary care doctor, reviews their medical information, and makes diet and drug recommendations.
Virta also trains patients to adopt a low-carbohydrate diet. Patients use an app to upload measurements including their blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and body weight every day. A health coach monitors their data and checks in via phone, text, or email to discuss any problems or offer daily encouragement
After six months, 90 percent of participants stayed on the Virta program, and the majority continued to lose weight and improve their blood sugar control.
Martin J. Abrahamson, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, believes these kinds of digital programs will be crucial for patients such as diabetics who need more support than the current model of treatment provides.
New York Times (04/11/17)