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University of Virginia Diabetes Tele-Education Program

Summary 
  • Need: To educate people in the rural parts of Virginia who either have diabetes or are considered at high risk for developing it.
  • Intervention: Teleconferencing technology is used to offer diabetes education programs to people with diabetes or those at high risk for developing it and health professional training in endocrinology and lifestyle behavior changes.
  • Results: Participants reported better prevention techniques and/or self-management of diabetes after being thoroughly educated about this condition.

Description

Portions of rural Virginia are considered high diabetes risk areas of the state. To address this problem, the Virginia Center for Diabetes Prevention and Education (VCDPE) at the University of Virginia (UVA) has offered free diabetes prevention and management tele-education programs to community health centers, small rural hospitals, health districts, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in these parts of the state.

Rural community health centers and rural hospitals can more efficiently use their resources by employing teleconferencing to disseminate diabetes prevention and diabetes self-management information. The experts in these fields are essentially brought into each of these organizations to educate their patients at no cost to the hosting organization.

Beginning in 2006, the Diabetes Tele-Education Program was initially funded with a grant via the Virginia Department of Health Office of Health Equity through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy's Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program. Today, funding for this program comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Partners in this initiative are the:

  • UVA Diabetes Education and Management Program (DEMP)
  • UVA Office of Telemedicine
  • UVA Department of Endocrinology

Services offered

Diabetes education courses:

  • The Basics of Diabetes
  • Nutrition Basics
  • Diabetes Self-Management Skills
  • Healthy Eating Lifestyle Changes

University of Virginia at Wise employees can take the diabetes prevention distance learning program via video conferencing technology. Starting in January 2019, endocrinology ECHO will be available to train primary care clinicians in rural, underserved communities to provide specialty care services.

Results

Since 2008, the program served over 3,600 patients at over 64 sites.

Types of sites:

  • Critical Access and other hospitals
  • Community Health Centers
  • Free clinics
  • Libraries
  • Senior centers
  • Health Departments
Participants map

To learn more about this program, see the 2016 abstract presented at the American Association of Diabetes Educators meeting.

Barriers

Future challenges:

  • Funding
  • New site recruitment
  • Site retention
  • More meaningful outcome data (behavioral and medical)

In addition, the program is working to increase the number of participating sites in high-risk, underserved hotspot areas of Virginia. These areas include minority populations and the uninsured.

Because transportation to class sites can be a barrier for some people, in 2020 a pilot project providing education direct to the home via iPads will be tested.

Replication

  • Market the programs early to increase the number of participating sites.
  • Provide the sites with creative marketing materials to share with their patients.
  • Reduce streamlined educational materials.
  • Add interactive opportunities/patient interaction during each session.

Contact Information

Viola Holmes, MS, RD, CDE, Education & Outreach Manager
Virginia Center for Diabetes Prevention and Education
434.982.0173
vjf7j@virginia.edu

Topics
Diabetes
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served
Virginia

Date added
March 1, 2011

Date updated or reviewed
January 14, 2020


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.