Term of Award
Doctor of Public Health in Public Health Leadership (Dr.P.H.)
Document Type and Release Option
Dissertation (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.
Department of Health Policy and Community Health
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The purpose of this research is to assess the efficacy of employing telemedicine (TM) technology compared to traditional face-to-face (F2F) visits as an alternative healthcare delivery service for managing diabetes in populations residing in urban medically underserved areas (UMUPA). Researchers investigating public health and healthcare systems fully grasp the enormous challenges encountered by vulnerable populations as a result of healthcare access barriers.1 Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, F2F visits were most often utilized for healthcare delivery service, which frequently posed barriers for vulnerable populations. When marginalized people, encounter healthcare access barriers, a cascade of events generally occur leading to forestalling or avoiding healthcare services entirely, complicating disease management, resulting in negative health outcomes. This was a novel study examining the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) values of 111 patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and 81 patients with prediabetes. Retrospective electronic patient health records (PHR) from a medical clinic were examined from January 1st, 2019, to June 30th, 2021. The results indicate that lowering HbA1c values for T2DM patients through utilizing TM is similar to outcomes from traditional visits, suggesting that TM may be an alternative mode of healthcare delivery for vulnerable populations. Results for patients with prediabetes were not statistically significant. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes and prediabetes shared a number of similar characteristics; they were predominantly Black, non-Hispanic, females, with a median age of 57 years; and resided in locations with inadequate access to healthcare services in an UMUPA. The majority of patients with uncontrolled diabetes who reside in an UMUPA completed appointments utilized TM technology, lending credence to its potential as an alternative healthcare delivery service for underserved populations. TM technology supports PH and the healthcare system with a viable, alternative strategy for expanding healthcare access where chronic illness and disease pose a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups. Optimal treatment for patients with diabetes necessitates a proactive, coordinated, systems-thinking team approach. This research supports PH’s endeavors in tackling the long-standing healthcare access barrier challenges in underserved populations.
Ward, L.A. (2022). Effectiveness of Telemedicine in Diabetes Management: A Retrospective Study in an Urban Medically Underserved Population Area (UMUPA). (Publication No.1) [Doctoral dissertation, Georgia Southern University. Digital Commons@Georgia Southern.
Research Data and Supplementary Material