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UK HealthCast: Laura Hieronymous on how UK TeleCare visits benefit patients

Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center

/ by UK HealthCare

UK HealthCast is a podcast series featuring interviews with UK HealthCare experts on a variety of health-related topics, from how to recognize stroke symptoms to what patients need to know about clinical trials and more.  

This week’s HealthCast features Laura Hieronymus,  DNP, MLDE, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, FAADE, CDE. Hieronymus is associate director of the UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, board certified in advanced diabetes management and is a master licensed diabetes educator.   

We  spoke  with Hieronymus  about the  pivot to Telecare for diabetes patients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She discussed  the services  offered via UK Telecare and  gave tips for  determining whether Telecare is the best option for a patient or their loved one.  

Listen to the full podcast at the bottom of the page.  

What prompted the decision to focus on telecare for diabetes patients?  

Since the pandemic began, I think that all healthcare providers and their staff have been thinking through very quickly, ‘how can we meet our patients' needs?’ And for the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, we turned to telehealth full-time on a dime. We knew that we had to continue seeing our patients.   

What  service  are available through UK TeleCare?  

At the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, we offer all services using the Telecare platform. Our providers see both adult and pediatric patients for diabetes as well as endocrinology visits for their medical care through Telecare.   

Also,  providers across the UK Healthcare enterprise as well as providers outside of UK can refer a patient to diabetes education services.  

We partner with all diabetes care providers to educate their patients. If a person has diabetes for example, if they're newly diagnosed, have a complicating factor related to diabetes, become pregnant, have treatment plan changes or develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, we partner with that patient's healthcare provider to provide diabetes self-management education.   

What are some benefits of Telecare vs. in-person visits?  

It's an alternative to individuals with diabetes, not only in this unprecedented time, but moving forward as well.  

Benefits of Telecare include accessibility. Telecare visits can be done on a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop with internet capability. They're also convenient. They can be done virtually anywhere, anytime with the appropriate privacy considerations.   

What are some factors  to  keep in mind when considering Telecare?  

Just as there's different medications to meet the needs of people with diabetes, Telecare is an alternative. It's not the only way that diabetes care can be provided. It's important for the patient along with their provider to determine whether Telecare is the right option.   

It’s also important to consider the following questions: Does the person have a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer that's able to connect to the team for the Telecare session?   

Is there a private location? I've heard stories about individuals driving through the carwash or driving through the drive-thru multitasking during a telehealth session. Not a good idea. We recommend that when that patient connects, it's just like when you show up for your appointment face-to-face in person – it’s very important to be there and be present.   

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