AbilTo, a provider of behavioral health programs proven to improve medical outcomes and lower costs for high-risk medical populations, today announced that Telemedicine and e-Health has published the results of a study AbilTo conducted on the impact of tele-behavioral therapy on diabetes patients with depression.AbilTo’s study documents significant decreases in depression, anxiety, stress, and glucose levels, as well as increased frequency of glucose self-testing, among participants.
Depression is prevalent among individuals with diabetes and associated with suboptimal self-management. But little has been known about the feasibility and potential impact of tele-behavioral therapy to improve depressive symptoms and self-management among diabetes patients.
The March 9 article titled “A Tele-Behavioral Health Intervention to Reduce Depression, Anxiety, and Stress and Improve Diabetes Self-Management” and authored by Dr. Heidi Mochari-Greenberger et al., describes the results from 466 patients who graduated from AbilTo’s eight-week diabetes behavioral health program during a 6-month period. The care was delivered via telephone or secure video, based upon participant preference, and administered by a provider team comprised of a licensed clinical social worker and a behavior coach.
Among graduates with elevated depression, anxiety, or stress at baseline (approximately half of participants), there were significant reductions in all categories, and more than 80% of participants improved by at least one category of depression, anxiety, or stress severity. Improved glucose self-testing frequency and significant reductions in average morning glucose levels were observed from baseline to graduation.
According to AbilTo Chief Clinical Officer and study co-author Aimee Peters, LCSW, “Programs such as AbilTo’s are effective in motivating diabetes patients to make healthy changes at a gradual pace. By fostering skills like improving and tracking food choices, participants learn the clear connection between their behaviors and stable blood glucose levels. They leave the program with a new sense of confidence and control, as well as a practical plan for sustaining their health improvements.”
In February 2015, AbilTo and Aetna published a peer-reviewed study in The American Journal of Managed Care demonstrating that a remotely delivered behavioral health intervention could improve medical health, reduce hospital admissions, and lower the cost of care for individuals with a recent cardiovascular event.