J Endocrinol Invest: A telemedicine-based approach with real-time transmission of blood glucose data improves metabolic control in insulin-treated diabetes: the DIAMONDS randomized clinical trial

Purpose: To evaluate if a web-based telemedicine system (the Glucoonline® system) is effective to improve glucose control in insulin-treated patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as compared to standard of care.

Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, controlled trial, carried out at three tertiary referral centers for diabetes in Italy. Adults with insulin-treated type 1 and type 2 diabetes, inadequate glycemic control, and no severe diabetes-related complications and/or comorbidities were eligible for this study. Patients were randomized to either perform telemedicine-assisted (Group A) or standard (Group B) self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) for 6 months. In Group A, patients received prompt feedback about their blood glucose levels and therapy suggestions from the study staff via phone/SMS, when appropriate. In Group B, patients had no remote assistance from the study staff between planned visits.

Results: 123 patients were included in the final analysis. After 6 months, patients achieved a significant reduction in HbA1c in Group A (-0.38%, p < 0.05) but not in Group B (+ 0.08%, p = 0.53). A significant difference in the percentage of patients with HbA1c < 7% between Group A and Group B was found after 3 months (28.6% vs 11.1%, p = 0.02). Also, fewer patients (p < 0.05) with HbA1c > 8.5% were found in Group A vs Group B, respectively, after both 3 months (14.3% vs 35.2%) and 6 months (21.8% vs 42.9%).

Conclusions: The use of the Glucoonline™ system resulted in improved metabolic control. Telemedicine services have potential to support diabetes self-management and provide the patients with remote, prompt assistance using affordable technological equipment. Trial registration This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01804803) on March 5, 2013.