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Crowley MJ, Tarkington PE, Bosworth HB, Jeffreys AS, Coffman CJ, Maciejewski ML, Steinhauser K, Smith VA, Dar MS, Fredrickson SK, Mundy AC, Strawbridge EM, Marcano TJ, Overby DL, Majette Elliott NT, Danus S, Edelman D. Effect of a Comprehensive Telehealth Intervention vs Telemonitoring and Care Coordination in Patients With Persistently Poor Type 2 Diabetes Control: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA internal medicine. 2022 Sep 1; 182(9):943-952.
Importance: Persistently poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (PPDM) is common and causes poor outcomes. Comprehensive telehealth interventions could help address PPDM, but effectiveness is uncertain, and barriers impede use in clinical practice. Objective: To address evidence gaps preventing use of comprehensive telehealth for PPDM by comparing a practical, comprehensive telehealth intervention to a simpler telehealth approach. Design, Setting, and Participants: This active-comparator, parallel-arm, randomized clinical trial was conducted in 2 Veterans Affairs health care systems. From December 2018 to January 2020, 1128 outpatients with PPDM were assessed for eligibility and 200 were randomized; PPDM was defined as maintenance of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level of 8.5% or higher for 1 year or longer despite engagement with clinic-based primary care and/or diabetes specialty care. Data analyses were preformed between March 2021 and May 2022. Interventions: Each 12-month intervention was nurse-delivered and used only clinical staffing/resources. The comprehensive telehealth group (n = 101) received telemonitoring, self-management support, diet/activity support, medication management, and depression support. Patients assigned to the simpler intervention (n = 99) received telemonitoring and care coordination. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary (HbA1c) and secondary outcomes (diabetes distress, diabetes self-care, self-efficacy, body mass index, depression symptoms) were analyzed over 12 months using intent-to-treat linear mixed longitudinal models. Sensitivity analyses with multiple imputation and inclusion of clinical data examined the impact of missing HbA1c measurements. Adverse events and intervention costs were examined. Results: The population (n = 200) had a mean (SD) age of 57.8 (8.2) years; 45 (22.5%) were women, 144 (72.0%) were of Black race, and 11 (5.5%) were of Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity. From baseline to 12 months, HbA1c change was -1.59% (10.17% to 8.58%) in the comprehensive telehealth group and -0.98% (10.17% to 9.19%) in the telemonitoring/care coordination group, for an estimated mean difference of -0.61% (95% CI, -1.12% to -0.11%; P = .02). Sensitivity analyses showed similar results. At 12 months, patients receiving comprehensive telehealth had significantly greater improvements in diabetes distress, diabetes self-care, and self-efficacy; no differences in body mass index or depression were seen. Adverse events were similar between groups. Comprehensive telehealth cost an additional $1519 per patient per year to deliver. Conclusions and Relevance: This randomized clinical trial found that compared with telemonitoring/care coordination, comprehensive telehealth improved multiple outcomes in patients with PPDM at a reasonable additional cost. This study supports consideration of comprehensive telehealth implementation for PPDM in systems with appropriate infrastructure and may enhance the value of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03520413.