Facebook + Skype Doc Visits Improve A1C

Who needs to go to the endocrinologist’s office when there’s high-speed internet available?

A new study from the University Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders in Macedonia has found that conducting doctor visits via Facebook chats and Skype is as good as regular clinic visits at improving A1C scores for kids with Type 1.

Researchers split 56 children and adolescents who were using insulin pumps into two groups, according to a Diabetes in Control article. The first received standard in-office visits while the second conducted similar visits over social media.

After 6 months, both groups showed equal improvement in A1C scores after consultations with a doctor about pump settings, basal bolus insulin, and other diabetes education. After an entire year, improvement continued to remain steady in both groups, so researchers concluded that both methods of healthcare were equally effective. Also, there were no evident complications with hypoglycemia, weight, or insulin dosage among study participants in either category after the 12-month mark.

54% of the social media users in the group used Facebook chats exclusively, 12% used Skype, and the remaining 34% used both. All consultations were tailored to each individual patient so that they could get the appropriate level of support from their healthcare provider.

If such study results are replicated in the future, the findings could be great news for many families who live in rural areas and have to road trip to the nearest endocrinologist.

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.

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