Last summer, a man was rushed to the emergency room in a diabetic coma and almost lost his life. Today, he’s managing his condition so well, he’s off insulin and has embraced a healthy lifestyle.
It’s a remarkable transformation of an individual we serve. The gentleman learned he was diabetic early last year. He had several diabetes risk factors: He was in an age risk category, he was overweight, and he is a member of a high-risk race population for diabetes. More than 34 million adults in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
On that hot summer day, his blood sugar rose to an extremely high level, leading to the diabetic coma. After he was discharged and back home recovering, an outreach team member followed up with him and asked if he wanted to talk to a nurse case manager about managing his condition, available resources, and support. With that call, he began to turn his life around.
Making a personal connection with people and assessing their whole health is a critical step in improving lives. Telehealth is an important tool that’s helped improve access to care for people — and during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a major increase in healthcare via video, due to safety concerns associated with face-to-face medical visits.
Making a personal connection, intervention, and healthcare resources can help people receive guidance and assistance tailored to meet their needs.
This particular gentleman was able to change his dietary habits with the help of a nutritionist, he worked with a pharmacist to develop a plan to manage the diabetes, and he talked with social workers to gain control of all the factors in his life that could enhance or impede his health and well-being – all through telehealth.
He was provided a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a revolutionary compact medical system that’s made a major impact on managing diabetes. With this device, he’s able to monitor his glucose levels continuously and see his blood glucose data on his phone, alerting him when his blood sugar levels are rising too high or dropping too low.
Working with this member, building his awareness of healthcare resources, and earning his trust to be a supportive partner, led to potentially lifesaving results. Through his virtual care, he’s more engaged with his health and he’s lost weight.
There isn’t a cure for diabetes, but losing weight, being active, eating healthy, and taking medicine as needed helps manage the condition. As people continue to use virtual healthcare services, even post-pandemic, whole-health needs can be met with access to affordable, safe, and remote care services.