University of Virginia Diabetes Tele-Education Program
- Need: To educate people in rural 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. Health professionals are also indirectly trained in diabetes care and management.
- Results: Participants reported better prevention practices and/or self-management of diabetes after being thoroughly educated about this condition.
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. These sites may host a live tele-education event, led by a certified diabetes educator, to educate patients at no cost to the 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, the program is funded through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health.
Partners in this initiative are the:
- UVA Diabetes Education and Management Program (DEMP)
- UVA Center for Telehealth
- UVA Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Diabetes education courses:
- The Basics of Diabetes
- Nutrition Basics
- Diabetes Self-Management Skills
- Healthy Eating Lifestyle Changes
In addition, University of Virginia's Charlottesville and College at Wise campus employees can take the diabetes prevention distance learning program via videoconferencing technology.
Due to COVID, the diabetes education project was expanded so that people with diabetes can attend diabetes education classes from home or a medical facility. In 2023, the tele-education classes will also be available on the website for asynchronous viewing to reach more people in Virginia living with diabetes.
VCDPE also has a diabetes education program where tablets are preloaded with educational information about diabetes self-management, and a certified diabetes educator leads group meetings for four weeks. This is available to healthcare facilities to share with people with diabetes who have limited internet access.
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
- Senior centers
- Health Departments
To learn more about this program, see the 2016 abstract presented at the American Association of Diabetes Educators meeting.
VCDPE also helped the Health Quality Innovation Network create 4 "Medical Minute" videos for medical providers of patients with diabetes and prediabetes.
- New site recruitment
- Site retention
- More meaningful outcome data (behavioral and medical)
- Internet access in rural areas
- COVID-19 disrupting clinical care
- Reaching the underserved
In addition, the program is working to increase the number of participating sites in Virginia's high-risk, underserved areas. These areas include geographic locations with a high prevalence of diabetes and obesity, under-resourced communities, rural communities, and populations of color.
- Building relationships with advanced clinical sites is key to success.
- 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 InformationLorrie Rilko, DNP, FNP, BC-ADM, CDCES, Diabetes Education and Outreach Manager
Virginia Center for Diabetes Prevention and Education
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
March 1, 2011
Date updated or reviewed
January 13, 2023
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2023. University of Virginia Diabetes Tele-Education Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/684 [Accessed 6 June 2023]
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.