Thursday, July 13, 2006

T1 Diabetes Imposes Travel Requirements

Diabetes House Call to the rescue

I just read about another family of a 16yr old with type 1 who travel 100 miles each way to see her pediatric endocrinologist. This is so common that many just take it in stride and even more settle for care by an unqualified primary care physician with little to no background in type 1 diabetes let alone the specialized knowledge required to manage growing children and the family dynamic.

"There are more than 100 families in the Fredericksburg area who have children with this chronic disease, and we must travel over 100 miles round-trip for our children to be seen."

This from a mom who has raised probably over a half-million dollars for research since her daughter was diagnosed over 15 years ago. Meanwhile, every 3 months they stop what they're doing, get in the car, travel to the specialist, sit in the waiting room and then if they have the same kind of visit as many other families that I know, they will spend more time paying their co-pay than they do with the endo. It's commonplace to spend no more than 5 to 10 minutes with the doctor and only twice a year in many settings. Most of the time is spent waiting and then only to be seen by the diabetes nursing staff.

"...there are a lot of children here in need of this type of specialist. We are getting tired of waiting. There are veterinarians virtually on every corner in this town. Why can't we get one good endocrinologist for our kids?" says Lisa Taylor, mother of the 16 yr old w type 1."

What if you could have a telemedicine visit with your endo from home for visits when everything is going well? That's what we're testing in Texas with Diabetes House Call. It's cool stuff and will be coming to people in a few additional states by mid next year - the lucky families living in Texas will have access to DHC this year!

This is healthcare for people who get what they need vs. healthcare for people who take what they get. If you look at the costs of diabetes imposed travel, you'll see that it's not cheap. My family spent over $2500 a year when our family traveled to get care in another city in order to get what we felt we needed for our daughter - an insulin pump. Hotels, gas, meals, lost work, etc... it ain't cheap and we weren't loaded but we made it a priority.

Bottom line is that our work with select Endos across the country will deliver what Lisa Taylor is asking for and deserves. The only question left is will those families make it a priority or will they simply continue to take what they get? We'll soon see.