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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults with type 2 diabetes care and clinical parameters in a primary care setting in Ontario, Canada: A cross-sectional study

Open AccessPublished:January 09, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcjd.2023.01.003
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      Abstract

      Introduction

      Diabetes requires ongoing monitoring and care to prevent long term adverse health outcomes. In Canada, quarantine restrictions were put into place to address the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Primary care diabetes clinics limited their in-person services and were advised to manage type 2 diabetes (T2D) through virtual visits and reduce the frequency of routine diabetes-related lab tests and screening.

      Methods

      This retrospective cross-sectional study used de-identified patient records from a primary care electronic medical records (EMR) database in Ontario, Canada to identify people with T2D who had at least one healthcare touchpoint between March 1, 2018 and February 28, 2021.
      Outcomes were described on a monthly or yearly basis: 1) number of people with primary care visits (in-person vs virtual); 2) number of people with referrals; 3) number of people with each of the vital/lab measures; and 4) results of the vital/lab measures.

      Results

      A total of 16,845 with T2D were included. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, the COVID-19 period saw a 16.8% reduction in the T2D population utilizing any primary care and an increase of 330.4% in the number of people with ≥1 virtual visit. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, fewer people had vital/lab measures in the pandemic period. However, among the people with the test results available, the average values for all tests were similar in the pre- and pandemic period.

      Conclusion

      Further research is important to understand the impact of the reduction of in-person clinical care on the entire population with T2D.

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