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How a Health System Improved Outcomes for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

At the St. Joseph’s/Candler health system in Savannah, Georgia the pharmacists helped to improve outcomes for patients living with type 2 diabetes. The patients living with type 2 diabetes saw improvements in their A1C levels while using remote patient monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using remote patient monitoring, a pharmacist helped to improve the outcomes for patients living with type 2 diabetes.

The study

All patients in the study had an initial A1C value of 8 percent or higher. The study consisted of two groups:

  • 30 patients who received care prior to the pandemic (August 2019 and February 2020)

  • 61 patients who received care between March and October 2020.

At the three and six month mark:

  • Patients in the pre-covid group saw an average A1C reduction of 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent

  • Patients who received telehealth care during the pandemic saw a greater decrease of A1C levels with 2 percent and 2.2 percent reductions.

During the study, researchers tried to determine if telehealth had any influence on the percentage of patients on statin therapy (medications used to lower cholesterol), and how it affected the quality measures that relate to the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System goals. 96.2% of patients were on statin therapy before the pandemic compared to the 82.6% during the pandemic.

Results

In the pre-telehealth group

  • 41.7% of patients had their A1C levels under control according to HEDIS standards

  • 60% of patients met the MIPS standards of having A1C level of less than 9 percent

In the telehealth group

  • 54% of their patients met the goal of having their A1C levels under control according to HEDIS standards

  • 73.8% met the MIPS standard of having an A1C level of less than 9 percent

Researchers found that RPM reduced the number of in-person visits but it was able to improve health outcomes and patients found the virtual program was able to be both timely and convenient.