Diabetes Telehealth Program - Empowering Patients to be Involved in their own Care

Caroline Wallinger with patient
Caroline Wallinger, RN, BSN, with patient

An innovative diabetes telehealth program offered through the MUSC Center for Health Disparities Research enables patients to monitor diabetes and blood pressure from their homes, with direct transmission of real-time data for viewing by their primary care doctors. This technology provides doctors and nurses with the information they need to make treatment recommendations over the phone between office visits. The center launched its Technology Assisted Case Management for Low Income Adults with Type II Diabetes (TACM-2) program in 2014. Using a combination of nurse case management and remote patient monitoring, the TACM-2 program helps patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes improve their glycemic and blood pressure control in a practical and sustainable way. 

“Our goal is to improve diabetic control for low income, rural adults in SC with type II diabetes who otherwise have difficulty accessing primary care,” says Chelsey Petz, M.D., assistant professor and medical director of the TACM-2 program.

Dr. Petz and Bill Moran, M.D., primary investigator (PI) and interim director of CHDR provide leadership for the program, which is coordinated and run primarily by two nurses, Dawn Dericke, RN, BSN, CCRC, and Caroline Wallinger, RN, BSN, who have been working on the program since its launch in 2014.

Since inception, the program has partnered with 15 clinical sites comprised of 40 different clinics and has enrolled over 1,900 patients. The program is currently focused on the three counties in South Carolina with the highest prevalence of diabetes: Dillon, Marion, and Williamsburg. Future expansion plans are to roll out the program to MUSC Primary Care Physicians’ Offices.

“What we found is that there are dramatic improvements in A1C levels in the first six months and these improvements are being sustained at the 12- and 18-month mark,” says Dr. Petz. Dr. Petz attributes this success to patients being able to manage their own disease and receive direct feedback from case managers. Remote monitoring allows patients to have more touch-points with their care team which is especially important for patients who may face barriers to attend frequent appointments.