The restrictive measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have had a huge impact on patients with chronic diseases who need regular care and continuous monitoring. In addition, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that leads to COVID-19 has caused particularly serious losses to patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. According to a British study based on data from 61million medical records, 30% of patients who died of COVID-19 had diabetes. The root cause of this increase in mortality remains unclear. Inefficient blood glucose control can lead to tissue damage, and cause inflammation and immune system stress.
During the pandemic, more people use telemedicine monitoring for diabetes related care, which is partly due to the relaxation of restrictions on telemedicine during public health emergencies, allowing patients to receive care without increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection. There are about 34.2 million patients with diabetes and another 88 million patients with pre-diabetes in the United States, and many people can benefit from access to telemedicine monitoring. Continuous blood glucose monitoring has been used in the hospital environment to reduce the use of PPE and prevent the exposure of patients and hospital staff from COVID-19. The blood glucose meter also allows patients with diabetes to monitor themselves at home and share their data with healthcare professionals (HCP).
Foot temperature monitoring and early detection of hot spots at risk of developing ulcers, smart insoles to identify high sole pressure, and shoe unloading that can monitor their use compliance are emerging tools that can let patients understand their needs and help them manage their health. Patients with a history of diabetes related foot disease also had a higher overall risk of death and fatal myocardial infarction than patients with diabetes without foot disease. Therefore, these patients have been shown to benefit from telemedicine monitoring to track blood pressure and reduce their low density lipoprotein levels.
Long before the pandemic, healthcare professionals such as Eric Johnson, M.D., of the school of medicine and health at the University of North Dakota, had been using telemedicine for patients and found that it was an efficient way to keep in touch with patients. Telemedicine monitoring is more than just collecting information. Regular measurement of blood glucose and other physiological data can show the response of specific patients' bodies to changes in diet and exercise, and enable patients to better control their health, while establishing a stronger relationship between patients and HCP.