Inpatient Transition to Virtual Care During COVID-19 Pandemic
Morgan S. Jones, MD, April L. Goley, FNP-C, Bonnie E. Alexander, PA-C, Scott B. Keller, MHA, Marie M. Caldwell, MD, and John B. Buse, MD, PhD
Introduction: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, novel approaches to diabetes care have been employed. Care in both the inpatient and outpatient setting has transformed considerably. Driven by the need to reduce the use of personal protective equipment and exposure for patients and providers alike, we transitioned inpatient diabetes management services to largely ''virtual'' or remotely provided care at our hospital.
Methods: Implementation of a diabetes co-management service under the direction of the University of North Carolina division of endocrinology was initiated in July 2019. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the diabetes service was largely transitioned to a virtual care model in March 2020. Automatic consults for COVID-19 patients were implemented. Glycemic outcomes from before and after transition to virtual care were evaluated.
Results: Data over a 15-week period suggest that using virtual care for diabetes management in the hospital is feasible and can provide similar outcomes to traditional face-to-face care. Conclusion: Automatic consults for COVID-19 patients ensure that patients with serious illness receive spe- cialized diabetes care. Transitioning to virtual care models does not limit the glycemic outcomes of inpatient diabetes care and should be employed to reduce patient and provider exposure in the setting of COVID-19. These findings may have implications for reducing nosocomial infection in less challenging times and might address shortage of health care providers, especially in the remote areas.