PHILIPPI — Broaddus Hospital is confronting one of the state’s most burdensome chronic health challenges, diabetes, by providing access to remote medical consultations to people in the county.
“People with diabetes are at greater risk for long-term health problems associated with their kidneys, heart, feet, eyes, and nerves. The best way to delay or prevent these problems is by controlling your blood sugar and being proactive in taking care of yourself,” said Broaddus Family Care provider Jennifer Duvall, PA-C. “Because of our tele-diabetes program, our patients now have access to a diabetes specialist close to home.”
Broaddus Hospital and Davis Medical Center (DMC) in Elkins have developed the program collaboratively. Broaddus providers can refer persons with diabetes for a live teleconference with a dietitian/certified diabetes educator. Patients will connect to the DMC specialist from Broaddus Hospital.
“Our dietitians and educators provide the same type of counseling as they would in a classroom and face-to-face,” Jim Severino, Certified Diabetes Educator and Director of Nutrition Services for Davis Medical Center said. “We talk with patients about goals, healthy eating habits and meal planning. Being able to talk via a teleconference saves the patient time and money because the need for travel is eliminated. Care is less costly, quicker and more convenient.”
“The program helps physicians manage the disease for patients who have difficulty controlling it,” added Severino. “The key is the specialized care provided by the physician and the educators and dietitians. We are able to work together for patients who may not otherwise have access to it.”
“If a patient is interested in a tele-diabetes education consultation they should contact their provider for a referral to the program,” said Severino. “Generally, patients can be seen quickly, often within the same week of referral.”
Patients with or without diabetes can also access DMC specialists for nutritional consults. These appointments are beneficial for those who need assistance with weight management or who have conditions such as heart disease, lipid disorders, high blood pressure or kidney disease. Nutritional consults are conducted using the same telemedicine technology. All tele-consult visits require a referral from the patient’s provider.
DMC’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is one of only two programs in West Virginia to achieve preliminary recognition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The DMC Diabetes Prevention Program helps its participants cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. DPP classes are held in Elkins.
“Davis Medical is one of the region’s leading resources for diabetes education and outreach. Through this partnership we will improve clinical outcomes and care coordination for some of our most vulnerable patients. We’re excited to get the program underway,” added Hamrick.