A US study reports people can improve their diabetes management following secure online messaging with their healthcare team.
A cohort of people with type 2 diabetes who had enrolled in an online portal of an outpatient healthcare organisation from 2011-14 were evaluated. This communication was an accompaniment to routine visits to healthcare providers.
Scientists from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute in California wanted to see if messaging increased quality measures among the cohort. Around 72 per cent of the cohort used the messaging service, and those who frequently visited their health provider were more likely to message.
Those who used the messaging service were more likely to meet their HbA1c targets. This association grew in accordance with frequency of messaging, and regardless of whether the messages were initiated by doctors or patients. This relationship was strongest amongst those not treated with insulin.
In comparison, those who didn’t use the messaging service were less likely to meet their HbA1c target.
The researchers also discovered that increased messaging frequency was also positively associated, but less significantly, with process measures such as eye examination.
“Internet-based secure messaging between patients and providers through a patient portal is now common in the practice of modern medicine,” the authors wrote.
“Patients with diabetes frequently used secure messaging for medical advice in addition to routine visits to care providers. Messaging was positively associated with better diabetes management in a large community outpatient practice.”
The findings were published online in the Diabetes Care journal.

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