How Covid-19 has pushed diabetes treatment online

Diabetes is a risk factor for Covid-19 complications, so healthcare professionals are turning to remote treatment to keep patients with diabetes safe. Actiste was made for this.

Much about Covid-19 is still unknown, but at least one thing has been clear since the pandemic began at the end of 2019: people with diabetes and other underlying conditions are much more at risk of complications from the virus.

One of the first papers we saw on the subject was a Chinese study from early March published in The Lancet. The research team had looked at 191 Covid-19 patients in two Wuhan hospitals, determining that almost one in five of them had diabetes.

The picture is even more serious in the UK, where diabetics account for up to one third of Covid-19 hospital deaths. The numbers differ from country-to-country – depending on a variety of demographic and socioeconomic factors – but around the world diabetes is a common comorbidity for Covid-19 mortality.

A study published in Nature looks deeper into the subject, pointing out that type 2 diabetes and hypertension were the most common comorbidities for earlier coronavirus infections too (including SARS and MERS-CoV). The researchers cite evidence of “a direct metabolic and endocrine mechanistic link to the viral disease process,” and they emphasise the importance of metabolic control amid the pandemic.

Treatment through telemedicine

This knowledge creates something of a dilemma within chronic-disease care. It’s more important than ever that patients with diabetes get the help they need, yet amid the pandemic they have typically been advised not to visit hospitals due to the risk of infection.

The result is a new push from medical professionals and research teams into innovative ways to treat their patients from a distance. Another report in The Lancet looks at some of this work, including that of a UK doctor who has been monitoring his patients by mailing them a urinalysis dipstick analysed through a mobile phone app.

Even though social-distancing regulations are now being lifted, the demand for remote care – or telemedicine – is certain to continue growing. A mid-May article from the Washington Post looks at the trend in detail, citing research from Forrester that in the United States alone there will be more than one billion virtual care visits before the end of 2020.

Actiste helps to keep diabetics safe

We see Actiste playing a big role in this shift to remote care for diabetes. The service does this in two important ways.

First, the Actiste device records all data on a patient’s blood glucose measurements and insulin doses. With its built-in global mobile connection – included as part of the subscription – this data can be shared with a patient’s caregiver, who can provide remote support from anywhere in the world.

The other way Actiste helps to protect diabetics is through its feature for the automated re-supply of lancets, test strips and needles. As Actiste records all blood glucose measurements and insulin injections, it is able to detect when a patient is running low on these essential items. The system automatically places an order for refills, which are then delivered directly to the user. There is no need for the patient to visit a hospital or pharmacy to restock.

Read more about Actiste and how it can provide remote assistance for treating diabetes.

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