Horm Metab Res 2021; 53(03): 191-196
DOI: 10.1055/a-1352-5023
Endocrine Care

Diabetes Care During COVID-19 Pandemic in Singapore Using a Telehealth Strategy

Xia Lian
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Rinkoo Dalan
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
2  Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore
,
Cherng Jye Seow
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Huiling Liew
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Michelle Jong
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
2  Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore
,
Daniel Chew
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
2  Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore
,
Brenda Lim
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Anita Lin
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Eunice Goh
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Christina Goh
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Noorani Bte Othman
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Lucy Tan
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
,
Bernhard O. Boehm
1  Department of Endocrinology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
2  Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore
› Author Affiliations
Funding Information: The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Abstract

Singapore currently has one of highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia. To curb the further spread of COVID-19, Singapore government announced a temporary nationwide lockdown (circuit breaker). In view of restrictions of patients’ mobility and the enforcement of safe distancing measures, usual in-person visits were discouraged. Here we describe how diabetes care delivery was ad hoc redesigned applying a telehealth strategy. We describe a retrospective assessment of subjects with diabetes, with and without COVID-19 infection, during the circuit breaker period of 7th April to 1st June 2020 managed through Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s telehealth platform. The virtual health applications consisted of telephone consultations, video telehealth visits via smartphones, and remote patient monitoring. The TTSH team intensively managed 298 diabetes patients using a telehealth strategy. The group comprised of (1) 84 inpatient COVID-19 patients with diabetes who received virtual diabetes education and blood glucose management during their hospitalisation and follow-up via phone calls after discharge and (2) 214 (n=192 non-COVID; n=22 COVID-positive) outpatient subjects with suboptimal glycaemic control who received intensive diabetes care through telehealth approaches. Remote continuous glucose monitoring was applied in 80 patients to facilitate treatment adjustment and hypoglycaemia prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic situation mooted an immediate disruptive transformation of healthcare processes. Virtual health applications were found to be safe, effective and efficient to replace current in-person visits.



Publication History

Received: 03 October 2020

Accepted: 05 January 2021

Publication Date:
02 February 2021 (online)

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