Piedmont’s Virtual Diabetes Classes Improve Patients’ Blood Sugar Levels

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From Piedmont Newnan Hospital

Taking a new virtual approach to educate diabetic patients, Piedmont is seeing significant progress in patient comprehension and health outcomes — with participants achieving healthier blood sugar levels. In fact, 80 percent of those who complete the classes see a substantial drop in their A1C. The average drop is two full percentage points. By utilizing and expanding its virtual platforms, Piedmont has reached people in a long-term, day-to-day sense, without needing to be in the same room. 

Patients struggle enough maintaining the modifications to their daily lives that become crucial when living with diabetes. These include testing blood glucose levels, taking long-term medications, and accounting for specific dietary restrictions. Hence, the reasoning behind the creation of curriculums educating patients on how to perform each task, the frequency for each, and the importance of all of it. 

Making these classes convenient for Piedmont’s patients is a major priority for the health system. The program, developed in conjunction with Piedmont’s electronic medical record vendor, Epic, is available to Piedmont patients who see physicians who are employed by Piedmont. 

Ironically, one of the biggest challenges the healthcare industry has ever faced, has also provided Piedmont with a key skillset. The pandemic was a worldwide nightmare, temporarily putting a halt to in-person anything—so, Piedmont adapted. 

Diabetes educators and even physicians turned to Piedmont’s virtual platforms which allowed for more connection than the alternative, with the added benefit of eliminating the hassles of long-distance travel.

And with the potential of long commutes for the classes taken out of the picture, those participating in Piedmont’s Diabetes Education Program flourished. Not to mention the centralized workflow allowing patients access to more scheduling options than their local classroom has provided. 

And it was even easier for patients to maintain continuity when taking into account the fact that the online meeting platforms allowed for more opportunities to connect with not only those teaching the curriculum, but also their caregivers, streamlining their access to each part of the process.

About 5,000 patients have received a three-session diabetes education program provided by Epic. 

About 80% of those who complete the classes see a substantial drop in their A1C. More than 15% drop a full percentage point, Dr. Jim Latimer, Piedmont’s chief medical informatics officer for ambulatory services, recently told USA Today about the program.

“I’m thrilled that the program we’ve developed has been shown to be able to have an effect,” he said “We want to expand it further so that we can help more.”

For more information, contact Piedmont Newnan Hospital at 770-400-1000 or visit piedmont.org.

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