Guest Editor: Dr. Wilma Hunt-Watts, D.P.M.

In Features 17by Mary KurekLeave a Comment

Dr. Wilma Hunt-Watts  D.P.M. (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine), D.A.B.M.S.P. (Diplomate of the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry), F.A.P.W.C.A. (Fellow of the American Professional Wound Care Association) is a Frontrunners League Member having been featured in the 10th edition of The Introducer on Veterans Advocates and Entrepreneurs.

She serves on the American Diabetes Association Board of Directors

We welcome Guest Editor:  Dr. Wilma Hunt-Watts…


Since its inception, the American Diabetes Association (A.D.A.) has been known as one of the world’s most recognized organizations supporting research and education on diabetes. Over almost the past eight decades we have witnessed an exponential increase in the number of people living with diabetes around the world. Globally, there are approximately 425 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes and 84 million with prediabetes; 90% of whom do not know they have the disease.

In the 21 st century, a number of tools have been introduced in an effort to assist in the chronic management of both Types I and II diabetes. Some of these include continuous glucose monitoring (C.G.M.), the artificial pancreas, A.I. (artificial intelligence), and remote patient monitoring. One of the newest care modalities added in the fight to manage the manifestations of diabetes is telemedicine/telehealth.

 

Dr. Watts meets Marley Dozier, our Youth Editor, while Marley was exploring a medical career at Johns Hopkins over the summer, 2019

Telemedicine (sometimes interchangeably referred to as telehealth) can be defined as the delivery of health care services at a distance or, more simply put, an electronic face-to-face encounter. Telehealth, through its various remote care modalities like Clinical Video Teleconferencing (C.V.T.), Store and Forward (S.F.T.) and Remote Patient Monitoring (R.P.M.), when utilized properly, has shown promising benefits in the care coordination between both hospitals and doctors. When I think of the numerous veterans from rural communities with diabetes whom I’ve treated over the years via telemedicine, I remember the gratitude expressed by both patients and family members for not having to travel hours to the hospital for an examination. The patient saved money and time on travel, as well as parking and was able to access a specialist which may not have occurred without greater effort and expense. Although not all situations are suitable for telemedicine, it has shown to be very effective when utilized properly. Rural connectivity is a challenge, but current legislation to improve technology infrastructure services are a priority for the stakeholders who have a vision of how this technology can be of great benefit in the area of health care in addressing diabetes.  This innovative approach to communicating with those affected by diabetes shows promise in helping to augment communication efforts between the health care provider and patient, thereby, improving care management through coordination of care.  A.I. has the potential to improve communication between team members and therefore, improving care management amongst different care providers in different locations. Telemedicine puts the patient in charge of their health care and helps to improve access to providers which may not be accessible otherwise.

 

Inevitably, as telemedicine becomes more mainstream as an accepted means of care management, reimbursement and parity hurdles diminish, hopefully, legislation and payment models will undoubtedly catch up to the technology. With digital health tech companies leading the way to integrate technology to help benefit those living with diabetes, the health care community is positioned to make an indelible mark in the fight to cure diabetes so that people living with diabetes can not only survive but thrive.

As Guest Editor of this very important edition of The Introducer Magazine, I am honored to be in the company of two of the most unyielding collaborators in the world of diabetes advocacy. My friend and colleague, Dr. David Armstrong, has repeatedly set the bar with over 500 publications related to diabetes research and has fostered connections around the globe with the establishment of his signature organization, S.A.L.S.A. (Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance); an alliance dedicated to advancing diabetic foot care,
preventing amputations and saving limbs.

I’ve known our Chief Executive Officer (Tracey Brown) at The A.D.A. since she came on board. In her capacity as C.E.O., she brings a voice that is of a dynamic nature. She has passion and knowledge unmatched which is much needed at the top of this type of organization. Her leadership gives us hope as well as inspiration as she leads us with strengthening determination that through our collective efforts, we will make an indelible impact addressing the global diabetes epidemic one step at a time.

As you engage this special edition of The Introducer Magazine, I think you will be amazed and heartened by the strides being made to tackle this worldwide epidemic. Some of our best and brightest innovators and stakeholders tackling the diabetes epidemic are highlighted in this edition of The Introducer Magazine.


 

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