Jan 08, 2018

Telehealth Education for Patients Living with Diabetes in Rural Alabama

In Collaboration with: Alethea Hill, PhD, ACNP-BC, ANP-BC

Problem Statement: As of 2015, Alabama is ranked 46th for both overall health and diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is one of the nation’s leading causes of death. Alabama is tied for third with West Virginia at 11.1 percentage of adults who have been told by their health care provider they have diabetes. Evidence supports the value, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of Diabetes Self Management Education/Training (DSME/T) programs. Patients who received DSME/T in a group setting improved their diabetes knowledge and reduced their need for diabetes medication. According to the 2010 Alabama Health Disparities Status Report, Alabama’s ranking in prevalence of diabetes translates to more than one adult in ten diagnosed with diabetes; In 2015, Escambia County Alabama health ranking was 50th out of 67 counties.

Approach: Based on the profile of Alabama and the impact of diabetes among its populations, a multi-collaborative approach was used to implement a diabetes education program using telehealth in Escambia County. Using Alabama’s new telehealth technology, we piloted a six-session DSME/T group, led by a healthcare provider in a different county connected to diabetes patients in Escambia County. Social and other media-disseminated diabetes education and prevention messages were used. Diabetes self-efficacy management was measured pre- and post-intervention using Stanford’s scoring tool and the DDS17. Results will be presented.


Products/Outcome: The project implemented diabetes education sessions between the healthcare provider in one county and the individual with diabetes in a remote county; an evidence-based diabetes education program using telehealth was implemented; patient diabetes knowledge and management self-efficacy increased; and multimedia were used to disseminate diabetes education and prevention messages.

Implications: Use of telehealth technology will reach and empower individuals living with diabetes in rural Alabama: giving them tools to make informed decisions for self-care; engaging them in effective diabetes self-management; and implementing self-care behaviors to experience optimal physical and psychological well-being