Managing Diabetes in a Virtual World

According to the CDC, just over 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and 1 in 3 are prediabetic. In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, we’re sharing tips and tricks from Endocrinologist Justin Moore on virtually managing and tracking this chronic condition. 

Back in April, Dr. Moore, MD, FACP, presented to PCPs during a live webinar and shared his advice for diagnosing and managing a range of endocrine conditions in a virtual world. 

Here is the advice he shared for diabetes:

Managing Diabetes  

Having to virtually help a patient, especially one who is newly diagnosed, manage and track their diabetes can be daunting, but Dr. Moore had several tips to help. Depending on availability, he recommended sending patients to a local diabetes educator to help them learn how to manage and treat the disease. 

When showing new patients how to inject themselves with insulin, Dr. Moore said he typically fills a syringe with saline and injects himself to help show the patient that it’s not as scary as they may think. Since he can’t do that right now, he says sharing online resources is the next best thing. Guiding patients to instructional videos and demonstrations from trusted sources can help ease their anxieties and make them feel more confident about administering their insulin. 

In terms of dosing, Dr. Moore recommended close monitoring the patient’s blood glucose levels over several days and titrating the insulin accordingly. When it comes to monitoring diabetes remotely, Dr. Moore had several suggestions:

  • Find a process that works well for you and your patient to communicate blood sugars
    • This can involve the patient sharing them verbally over the phone, taking pictures or their numbers, or tracking them in a secure app 
  • As a temporary stand in for in-person foot exams, have the patient point the camera at the bottom of their feet to check for any abnormalities or ulcers
    • If there are suspicious ulcers, that patient should be seen in-person as soon as possible
  • For labs, screening can wait until after COVID-19 precautions are relaxed

For detailed sample cases and more information on virtually managing endocrine cases, listen to the full, CME-accredited webinar here: https://www.rubiconmd.com/cme

Additional resources:

  1. Resource for Taking Care of Youth with Diabetes - https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/community-health-outreach/national-diabetes-month
  2. Resources for Providers from the ADA - https://professional.diabetes.org/clinical-corner
  3. Report on Patient Self-Management - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epub/10.1177/0145721720930959