Using telemedicine to support diabetes patients with kidney disease better

Patients with diabetes are at risk of developing kidney disease, which often has few symptoms and if not caught in time can leave people with little option other than renal dialysis to stay alive.  Now a new service from the Trust’s diabetes and endocrinology team, which uses telemedicine to allow hospital consultants to engage directly with their GP colleagues, is helping to spot those patients who would benefit most from an early review of their care.

Funded by the East and North Hertfordshire CCG, this important new initiative allows the Trust to review online a range of data on patients in the 10 GP practices signed up to date with the project.  Over 1,120 patients have been identified so far for potential clinical review, which have been discussed with their GPs via telemedicine links.  This allows the GPs to contact those who need to be seen, thus reducing the number who get referred on to see a consultant.

 

Dr Peter Winocour, clinical director for diabetes and endocrine services, said:

“This important new service, which is beginning to attract regional and national attention for its innovative approach, allows us to review a wide range of clinical information held on individual patients.  When we spot those with early kidney disease that is getting worse, or related issues that impact on controlling a person’s diabetes or circulatory or bone health risks – which are all common complication for those with diabetes and kidney disease – we can review their care with GPs using a specialist telemedicine service.

“All such patients receive guidance on altering medication during acute illnesses, in order to reduce the risk of hospital admissions with acute worsening of their diabetes and kidney function.

“To help our GP colleagues, we have also been carrying telehealth teaching sessions, which helps them to look after this vulnerable group of patients more effectively.  We’ve now held five such sessions with GP practices and have several more planned.”

The project, which is being funded for two years by the East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has attracted national attention – including through the 2017 Quality in Care Diabetes awards.