Aims: The increasing incidence and prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) on a background of limited resources calls for innovative approaches healthcare provision. Our aim was to explore the effects of telemedicine supported GDM care on a range of health service utilisation and maternal and foetal outcomes. Methods: An exploratory randomised controlled trial of adjunct telemedicine support in the management of insulin-treated GDM compared to usual care control. Outcomes included health service use, maternal and foetal clinical outcomes as well as costs. Groups were compared on outcomes and Poisson and Cox regression analysis were performed for predictors of health service utilisation, glycaemic control and costs. Results: 95 participants were recruited (intervention n = 61, control n = 34). There were no differences between the groups in number of face-to-face appointments (median (IQR) intervention = 8(7), control = 8(6), p = 0.843), rates of caesareans, macrosomia, large for gestational age, special care nursery admission or newborn birth-weight. The intervention had no impact on total (IRR = 1.04, p = 0.596) or face-to-face (IRR = 1.09, p = 0.257) clinic appointments or service provider costs. Participants receiving the intervention reached optimum glycaemic control quicker: mean (SD) 4.3(4.2) weeks vs. 7.6(4.5) weeks, p = 0.0001). Telemedicine was a significant predictor of better glycaemic control (HR = 1.71(95%CI: 1.11, 2.65, p = 0.015). Conclusions: Telemedicine support for GDM care showed no impact on service utilisation and costs. The intervention produced similar GDM clinical outcomes as usual care and posed no added risk to clinical quality of care. The intervention may be associated with fewer insulin dose titrations and participants achieved optimum glycaemic control sooner.
- Foetal outcome
- Gestational diabetes mellitus
- Healthcare costs
- Maternal glucose levels