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BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2018 Apr 21;6(1):e000515. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2018-000515. eCollection 2018.

Intent-to-treat analysis of a simultaneous multisite telehealth diabetes prevention program.

Author information

Center for Clinical Translational Research, Billings Clinic, Billings, Montana, USA.
AMGA (formerly American Medical Group Association), Alexandria, Virginia, USA.
Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.
Contributed equally



Determine the effectiveness of a 16-week modified diabetes prevention program (DPP) administered simultaneously to multiple rural communities from a single urban site, as compared with a similar face-to-face intervention. A 12-week intervention was evaluated to consider minimization of staff costs in communities where resources are limited.

Research design and methods:

A prospective cohort study compared DPP interventions implemented in rural (via telehealth technology) and urban (face-to-face) communities using an intent-to-treat analysis. Primary outcome measures included 5% and 7% body weight loss. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine predictors of intervention success and included a variable for treatment effect.


Between 2010 and 2015, up to 667 participants were enrolled in the study representing one urban and 15 rural communities across Montana. The 16-week urban and rural interventions were comparable; 33.5% and 34.6% of participants lost 7% body weight, respectively; 50% and 47% lost 5% (p=0.22). Participants who were male (OR=2.41; 95% CI 1.32 to 4.40), had lower baseline body mass index (OR=1.03; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.07), attended more sessions (OR=1.33; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.58), and more frequently reported (OR=3.84; 95% CI 1.05 to 14.13) and met daily fat gram (OR=4.26; 95% CI 1.7 to 10.6) and weekly activity goals (OR=2.46; 95% CI 1.06 to 5.71) were more likely to meet their 7% weight loss goal. Predictors of meeting weight loss goals were similar for participants enrolled in the 12-week intervention.


Using telehealth technology to administer a modified DPP to multiple rural communities simultaneously demonstrated weight loss results comparable to those in a face-to-face intervention. Given the limitation of resources, linking rural areas to urban centers using telemedicine may increase access to much needed services to prevent or delay progression to diabetes.


prevention; rural health; telemedicine; type 2 diabetes

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