DOI: 10.2337/db23-155-lb ISSN: 0012-1797

155-LB: Econsults—An Innovative Model for Diabetes Specialty Care Delivery

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine

Background: More than 10% of the US population has diabetes. However, a national shortage of endocrinologists limits access to diabetes specialty care, creating a delay of several weeks to months for a new patient appointment in endocrine clinic. Econsults, which are asynchronous provider-to-provider communications embedded in the electronic medical record, are a relatively new pathway to seek consultation from specialists. The most common reason for endocrine econsult is uncontrolled diabetes. However, there is little evidence on effectiveness of econsults in improving diabetes control.

Methods: We completed a retrospective chart review of all endocrine econsults that were completed for adults with diabetes within a large integrated health system in 2022. We compared HbA1c values before and 3, 6, 12 months after econsult to assess glycemic change. We also analyzed how many econsults were followed by an endocrinology office visit.

Results: Of 212 diabetes econsults completed in 2022, 8% (16/212) were for type 1 DM, and 92% (196/212) were for type 2 DM management. Follow-up HbA1c values were available in 189 patients. Eighty-eight percent (166/189) of patients had improvement in HbA1c 12 months following econsult. Only 15% (32/212) of all econsults were followed by a video or in-person visit with an endocrinologist, while 85% (180/212) did not require a follow-up endocrine appointment. Of the patients who only received econsult, mean HbA1c improved from 9.9% at baseline to 7.4% at 12 months (p<0.05). Of the 31 patients with type 2 DM who required a follow-up appointment with endocrinologist, mean HbA1c improved from 10.4% at baseline to 7.1% post-visit (p<0.05). Of note, 6 patients were diagnosed with new-onset type 1 DM during econsult process and were triaged to an immediate video visit to start appropriate insulin treatment and prevent DKA.

Conclusion: Econsult is an efficient and effective model which can expand access to diabetes specialty care for patients with uncontrolled diabetes.


E. Karslioglu-French: Research Support; Abbott. M. Zupa: None. J. Quaytman: None.


Pittsburgh Foundation Grant (MR2022-128717)

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