Telemedicine compared to in-person care in cardiometabolic risk management service

Jason Moores (Nurse Practitioner) from Ontario Shores led an investigation into the efficacy of telemedicine compared to in-person visits for providing cardiometabolic risk management services to patients.  They presented their results at a Grand Rounds presentation and the study was recently published in The Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.

They note in their article that people with serious mental illness (compared to those without) are estimated to die at least 25 years earlier, largely attributable to cardiovascular disease. Accordingly, cardiometabolic services are becoming more routinely available for people with serious mental illness, including screening, monitoring and management programs. However, there is little research as to whether there is a difference between these services delivered in-person or through telemedicine.

Through a retrospective chart review, Jason and his team found that there were no differences on cardiometabolic outcome measures (e.g., Body Mass Index, systolic blood pressure, or fasting serum triglycerides) between telemedicine and in-person services. At the end of treatment, both groups showed a reduced Body Mass Index.

In the article, they discuss several important points discovered in their research. For example, patients receiving telemedicine services undertook less triglyceride monitoring than those receiving inpatient services. These results might be explained by the fact that in-person, patients could have their blood tests taken on-site following their visit to the metabolic clinic compared to those receiving telemedicine services, who would have to go to a laboratory for their bloodwork.

The overall finding was the suggestion that telemedicine may be as effective as in-person care and that telemedicine has the potential to improve access to cardiometabolic risk management services for people with serious mental illness.