Managing diabetes or the risk of developing diabetes has always been important. Today, it is essential in reducing potentially adverse outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This World Diabetes Day serves as an important reminder to manage diabetes and test for the risk of diabetes without delays.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with diabetes face a greater risk. Though diabetes has not been shown to increase the likelihood of developing a SARS-CoV-2 infection, progression to severe illness is more likely in people with diabetes.1
This is particularly of note as studies show diabetes and diabetic complications management was disrupted in over 120 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.2
Prior to the pandemic, studies have shown that guideline compliant testing frequency led to decreased HbA1c levels3 and HbA1c point-of-care testing has been shown to reduce the number of patient revisits.4,5
During the pandemic this is of specific value as it helps to avoid unnecessary contacts, while maintaining a high level of care. Patients do not need to go to the lab for blood sampling and there is no need to schedule another appointment to discuss HbA1c results once they are available from the lab. HbA1c point-of-care testing enables discussion and treatment decisions at the time of the visit.
Glycemic control treatment decisions can be achieved with just one single office visit.
In the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to continue managing chronic conditions in a way that everyone feels safe. Many patients with diabetes may not want to visit the clinic or a lab for their regular follow-up tests in fear of becoming infected with COVID-19. An innovative approach to pathology testing has been implemented at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. A drive-thru pathology service is available for their patients where they can have the necessary blood tests from only a fingerstick sample without leaving their car.
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1. Riddle M, Buse JB, Franks PW et. al. COVID-19 in People With Diabetes: Urgently needed Lessons From Early Reports. Diabetes Care. 2020; May 14. Online ahead of print.
2. WHO. Rapid assessment of service delivery for NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/rapid-assessment-of-service-delivery-for-ncds-during-the-covid-19-pandemic. Accessed 8 Jun, 2020
3. Egbunike V, Gerard S. The Impact of Point-of-Care A1C Testing on Provider Compliance and A1C Levels in a Primary Setting. Diabetes Educator. 2013; 39(1):66-73.
4. Lee-Lewandrowski L, Yeh S, Baron J, Crocker JB, Lewandrowski K. Implementation of point-of-care testing in a general internal medicine practice: A conformation study. Clin Chim Acta. 2017; 473:71-74.
5. Crocker JB, Lee-Lewandrowski E, Lewandrowski N, Baron J, Gregory K, Lewandrowski K. Implementation of Point-of-Care Testing in an Ambulatory Practice of an Academic Medical Center. AJCP. 2014; 142:640-646.
6. Zhu L, She Z-G, Chen X et al. Association of Blood Glucose Control and Outcomes in Patients with COVID-19 and Pre-existing Type 2 Diabetes. Cell Metabolism. 2020; 31:1068-1077.
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