Telemedicine can connect specialist health care providers with patients in remote and underserved areas. It is especially relevant in diabetes care, where a proliferation of treatment options has added further complexity to the care of an already complex, highly prevalent disease. Recent developments in health reform encourage delivery systems to use team-based models and engage patients in shared decision-making (SDM), where patients and providers together make health care decisions that are tailored to the specific characteristics and values of the patient. The goal of this project was to design, integrate, and evaluate a team-based, SDM approach delivered to patients with diabetes in a rural community, building upon the previously established telemedicine for reach, education, access, and treatment (TREAT) model. Patients in this feasibility study demonstrated improvement in hemoglobin A1c values, and reported better understanding of diabetes. Providers reported the SDM aids increased cohesion among team members (including patients) and facilitated patient education and behavioral goal setting. This project demonstrated that SDM could be integrated into the workflow of a telemedicine team visit with good provider and patient satisfaction.
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