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New prescription tool ‘transforms’ 82,000 diabetes consultations

By Editor
23rd June 2017
Care planning, Charity

A new tool which is set to “transform the standard diabetes consultations” by focusing on some of the topics in diabetes management that create real challenges for people and doctors has been launched.

Diabetes UK said it has developed information prescriptions following a series of workshops with clinicians, people with diabetes and health academics. It is hoped the new initiative will make diabetes consultations work better for all involved.

Amy Rylance, head of healthcare professional engagement at Diabetes UK, said: “Working with healthcare professionals, I hear a lot about the devastating and life-threatening complications of diabetes, including heart disease, amputations and strokes. These complications cost the NHS £8bn a year. Finding an effective way to engage patients and prevent these complications from ever happening is the holy grail of improving health, transforming people’s quality of life and saving the NHS money.

“Talking to clinicians and people living with diabetes it became clear both were hugely frustrated by the challenges of managing this complex condition in extremely time pressured consultations.”

The organisation has developed a set of bespoke information prescriptions which were developed to transform the standard diabetes consultation. The clinically accurate resources are designed to help healthcare professionals and people with diabetes to make decisions together about the treatment and self-management of their diabetes.

This gives the person with diabetes a personalised single side of A4 to take away with them which includes easy-to-read explanations, clear images and individual goals.

General practitioner Dr Stephen Lawrence said: “Information prescriptions put patients in the driving seat and that is the key to driving successful behavior change. Having piloted it I know that it works and the feedback I’ve had from patients is that they feel more in control and like having clear goals set out to help them improve their health. This is a revolutionary step in diabetes care.”

Ms Rylance added: “The information prescriptions are embedded in clinical IT systems, which means that they are quick to use, fundamental if they are to get traction in the pressured NHS. Clinicians receive electronic alerts prompting them to intervene with patients who are at higher risk of devastating complications.

“Clinicians say that this is changing their behaviour, prompting them to intervene more proactively and highlighting patients who have slipped through the net for years. Data from clinical system EMIS Web shows that use of information prescriptions is rising steadily and they have now been used in over 82,000 clinical consultations.

“But getting traction with clinicians is only half the story; information prescriptions are also showing that they can tackle the fear and confusion that leaves people vulnerable to complications. Many patients say that the information prescription was the first time anyone had explained the condition to them.”

Nicola Milne, a practice nurse using information prescriptions in Manchester, said: “Individuals report a clearer understanding of the concepts and relevance of HbA1c, lipids and blood pressure and an enhanced motivation to adopt lifestyle modification specific to their own needs.”

According to Diabetes UK, an audit of one GP practice in Glasgow showed a ten per cent increase in the proportion of people reaching their blood glucose targets in the year after the information prescriptions were introduced. It seems more people are hitting targets, which mean fewer are at risk of amputations, blindness and all the other diabetes complications.

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