Healthcare Management, avoidable mortality, telemedicine to improve health of the diabetic population

Igiene e Sanità Pubblica 2022; 81 (4):130-134

Giuseppe Gambale*, Marta Castellani**, Elisa Mazzeo**, Andrea De Giorgi**, Rosario Andrea Cocchiara*, Giovanni Profico*, Simona Amato*

*Rome Healthcare Local Authority 2
** Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases – Sapienza University of Rome

Worldwide the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated that in 2021 9.2% of adults (536.6 million, between 20 and 79 years of age) are diabetic and 32.6% under 60 years (6.7 million) die because of diabetes. This disease is set to become the leading cause of disability and mortality by 2030. In Italy, the prevalence of Diabetes is about 5%; in the pre-pandemic period, from 2010 to 2019, diabetes was responsible for 3% of deaths recorded, while during the pandemic in 2020, these deaths increased to about 4%.

The present work aimed to measure the outcomes obtained from the ICPs (integrated care pathways) implemented by a Health Local Authority according to the model of the Lazio region and its impact on avoidable mortality, i.e., those deaths potentially avoidable with primary prevention interventions, early diagnosis and targeted therapies, adequate hygienic conditions and proper health care.

Materials and Methods
Data from 1675 patients enrolled in the diagnostic treatment pathway were analyzed, 471 with type 1 diabetes and the remainder with type 2 (mean age 17.5 and 69, respectively). 987 patients with type 2 diabetes also had comorbidities: in 43% obesity, 56% dyslipidemia, 61% hypertension, 29% COPD. In 54% they had at least 2 comorbidities. All patients enrolled in the ICPs were equipped with a glucometer and an app capable of recording results on capillary blood, 269 with type 1 diabetes were equipped with continuous and 198 insulin pump measurement devices. All enrolled patients recorded at least one daily blood glucose reading, one weekly weight reading, and recorded steps taken daily. They also underwent glycated hemoglobin monitoring, periodic visits and scheduled instrumental checks. A total of 5500 parameters were measured for patients with type 2 diabetes and 2345 for patients with type 1 diabetes.

Analysis of medical records revealed that 93% of patients with type 1 diabetes were found to be adherent to the treatment pathway, adherence of patients with type 2 diabetes was recorded in 87% of enrolled cases. The analysis of accesses to the Emergency Department for decompensated diabetes saw only 21% of patients enrolled in the ICPs, but recording poor compliance. The mortality in enrolled patients was 1.9% compared with 4.3 percent in patients not enrolled in ICPs, and patients amputated for diabetic foot resulted in 82% of patients not enrolled in ICPs. Finally, it is noted that patients also enrolled in the telerehabilitation pathway or home care rehabilitation (28%), with the same conditions of severity of neuropathic and vasculopathic picture presented a reduction of 18% in leg or lower limb amputation compared to patients not enrolled or not adhering to ICPs, a reduction of 27% in metatarsal amputation and 34% in toes amputation.

Conclusions: Telemonitoring of diabetic patients allows for greater patient empowerment with increased adherence, as well as a reduction in Emergency Department and inpatient admissions, thus resulting in ICPs being a tool for both standardization of quality of care and standardization of the average cost of the chronic patient with diabetic disease. Likewise, telerehabilitation can reduce the incidence of amputations from diabetic foot disease if associated with adherence to the proposed pathway with ICPs.

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