When a consultant is able to access detailed records about a diabetes patient, they don’t need to spend valuable contact time asking the patient to remember their complex medical history. Time with each patient is limited and needs to be used for maximum clinical benefit.
The close integration of applications is now saving healthcare professionals (HCPs) from having to re-key information between departmental and hospital systems, removing the reliance on paper based patient records and negating the need for them to have to print documents.
Separate deployments of technology solve individual problems but joining systems together generates far greater value.
Diabetes patient management systems, allow NHS trusts to capture records of patients, analyse progress and monitor improvements in well-being efficiently, not only for an individual but for the whole cohort of patients. Furthermore, built-in audit tools can allow clinical units to easily and swiftly export and submit data to the National Diabetes Audit (NDA), which then aggregates and reports on results at a national level. This gives visibility to the wider healthcare community and allows each unit to compare their performance against that of others.
When linked to the hospital patient administration system (PAS), these patient management systems can also generate significant time savings and higher levels of accuracy. Crucially, clerical overhead is reduced, meaning other resources can be deployed from within the existing budget. The same goes for integration with the hospital Pathology.
Similarly, hosted paediatric diabetes patient management systems can relieve strain on the workforce by achieving the same levels of integration as well as audit tools to support the mandatory submissions to the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit and Best Practice Tariff.
From local to national level
When NHS trusts extend what is happening at a local level and look at the bigger picture, they can see how information for a country looks. For example, in July 2013, Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland introduced the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR), a digital care record that brings together key information from health and social care records from throughout Northern Ireland in a single, secure system.
Since October 2015, interfaces from Hicom have enabled NIECR to be populated with data captured through the diabetes patient management systems of the five trusts. In February 2015, a survey of 2,300 respondents was conducted and found that 31.5 per cent of users had gained 30 minutes a day since using the integrated system.
Connecting the dots
Straight through processing has been a concept in the finance sector since the 1990s and applies equally well in healthcare. Systems designed following these principles are starting to be introduced across the globe, to handle scheduling, resource management and rostering, clinical coding, all the way through to patient surveys and billing.
High levels of integration with medical devices mean that test results and reports are instantly available for clinicians to review in real time, improving both patient flow and satisfaction by reducing the need for follow up appointments. Solutions that are bracketed by e-referrals at inception and automated e-claims after treatment has finished, delivering maximum efficiency.
When investment is made in carefully connected and coordinated IT infrastructure, NHS trusts will see substantial value for both staff and patients. Technology has a key role to play in providing the best possible care in the most efficient way to diabetic patients across the nation.