Disease Control Status and Safety of Telemedicine in Patients With Lifestyle Diseases – A Multicenter Prospective Observational Study in Japan

Circ Rep. 2020 Jun 3;2(7):351-356. doi: 10.1253/circrep.CR-20-0019.


Background: The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has tried to promote telemedicine since 2018, but faces difficulties in increasing the use of telemedicine partly due to a lack of clinical evidence. This study investigated the disease control status and safety of telemedicine, which, in Japan, is provided under the National Health Insurance system, for the treatment of lifestyle diseases under the present legal restraints. Methods and Results: This multicenter prospective observational study started in April 2018 and enrolled 34 patients with lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. Primary and secondary outcome measures included control status, serial changes in clinical indices, and the safety of telemedicine 6 months after implementation. Control status was assessed by the attending physician, and differences in blood pressure (BP), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), or HbA1c levels were evaluated. Of the 34 patients, 29 were successfully introduced to telemedicine and followed-up for 6 months. Median patient age was 77 years, 14 (48.3%) were men, 24 (82.8%) had hypertension, 17 (58.6%) had dyslipidemia, and 9 (31.0%) had diabetes. At the 6-month follow-up, no patients had experienced exacerbation of underlying diseases, with no significant changes in BP, LDL-C, or HbA1c. Moreover, no telemedicine-associated adverse events were observed. Conclusions: Telemedicine can be a safe and feasible option for managing lifestyle diseases under the present legal restraints.

PMID:33693252 | PMC:PMC7932806 | DOI:10.1253/circrep.CR-20-0019