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Background: We describe the utilization of telemedicine visits (video or telephone) across the type 1 diabetes (T1D) Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative (T1DX-QI) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Metrics, site-level survey results, and examples of interventions conducted to support telemedicine in T1D are shown.
Materials and Methods: Thirteen clinics (11 pediatric, 2 adult) provided monthly telemedicine metrics between December 2019 and August 2020 and 21 clinics completed a survey about their telemedicine practices.
Results: The proportion of telemedicine visits in T1DX-QI before the pandemic was <1%, rising to an average of 95.2% in April 2020 (range 52.3%–99.5%). Three sites initially used mostly telephone visits before converting to video visits. By August 2020, the proportion of telemedicine visits decreased to an average of 45% across T1DX-QI (range 10%–86.6%). The majority of clinics (62%) performed both video and telephone visits; Zoom was the most popular video platform used. Over 95% of clinics reported using CareLink™, Clarity®, Glooko™, and/or t:connect® to view device data, with only one center reporting automated data upload into the electronic medical record. The majority of centers had multidisciplinary teams participating in the video visits. All sites reported reimbursement for video visits, and 95% of sites reported coverage for telephone visits early on in the pandemic.
Conclusions: There was rapid adoption of telemedicine in T1DX-QI during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future insurance reimbursement for telemedicine visits and the ideal ratio of telemedicine to in-person visits in T1D care remain to be determined.
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