Goal Setting Using Telemedicine in Rural Underserved Older Adults with Diabetes: Experiences from the Informatics for Diabetes Education and Telemedicine Project

Telemedicine and e-Health. May 2010, 16(4): 405-416. Susan P. West, Carina Lagua, Paula M. Trief, Roberto Izquierdo, Ruth S. Weinstock.

Objective: To describe the use of telemedicine for setting goals for behavior change and examine the success in achieving these goals in rural underserved older adults with diabetes.

Materials and Methods: Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes living in rural upstate New York who were enrolled in the telemedicine intervention of the Informatics for Diabetes Education and Telemedicine (IDEATel) project (nhttp://www.liebertonline.com/na101/home/literatum/publisher/mal/journals/entities/2009.gif=http://www.liebertonline.com/na101/home/literatum/publisher/mal/journals/entities/2009.gif610) participated in home televisits with nurse and dietitian educators every 4–6 weeks for 2–6 years. Behavior change goals related to nutrition, physical activity, monitoring, diabetes health maintenance, and/or use of the home telemedicine unit were established at the conclusion of each televisit and assessed at the next visit.

Results: Collaborative goal setting was employed during 18,355 televisits (mean of 33 goal-setting televisits/participant). The most common goals were related to monitoring, followed by diabetes health maintenance, nutrition, exercise, and use of the telemedicine equipment. Overall, 68% of behavioral goals were rated as “improved” or “met.” The greatest success was achieved for goals related to proper insulin injection technique and daily foot care. These elderly participants had the most difficulty achieving goals related to use of the computer. No gender differences in goal achievement were observed.

Conclusion: Televisits can be successfully used to collaboratively establish behavior change goals to help improve diabetes self-management in underserved elderly rural adults.

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