The Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN) diabetes team continues to make telehealth more personal, particularly in the area of remote patient monitoring (RPM).

The diabetes team recently launched VUMC’s first RPM pilot program, one of VUMC’s Innovation Pillar goals for the year. RPM uses technology to securely gather digital data from patients. It then automatically sends the data to clinicians for review and recommendations. 

The RPM pilot helps patients more accurately and consistently manage their diabetes by adding an enhanced level of automated tracking to the previously established diabetes care coordination program. Patients are given a comprehensive assessment, including an in-depth review of their history, comorbid conditions, barriers to care, goals of care and current self-management techniques for their diabetes. Next, the team sets up patients with their new technology: a reader that attaches to the arm and continuously captures blood glucose readings. This data can then be viewed by the patient and automatically shared with the team.

VHAN Diabetes Care Coordination team members Chris Terry, PharmD, CDCES, and Lauren Shaw, RN, BSN, CDCES, monitor the incoming data on a regular basis and use it to guide both patients and providers in therapy and overall lifestyle modifications.

“RPM allows for more meaningful discussion with patients in determining how to identify areas of concern,” Shaw says. “From there we can make more significant and accurate recommendations for their diet, activity or medication regimen. It essentially helps us connect the dots with the data for this group more efficiently and effectively than ever before.” 

So far, the team has enrolled seven patients into the program and is seeking to enroll 30-40 during the pilot.

“As we gain experience using RPM, we hope it will add efficiency to the data-gathering process and increase our capacity to manage larger numbers of patients,” says Michelle Griffith, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical Director for Telehealth Ambulatory Service and Diabetes Subject Matter Expert for VHAN. “We anticipate applying the learnings from this pilot to future RPM programs.”