Newham Skype diabetes pilot scheme increases attendance

Newhams DAWN scheme has shown how technology can improve results and increase productivity in the N

Newhams DAWN scheme has shown how technology can improve results and increase productivity in the NHS - Credit: PA WIRE

A Skype diabetes pilot scheme in Newham has been hailed a success for increasing young people’s clinic attendance and saving the NHS money.

Unattended appointments by 16-25 years have significantly decreased from 30-50 per cent to 16pc since the introduction of the Diabetes Appointments via Webcam in Newham (DAWN) service in 2011.

The service, which was set up with £75,000 of the Health Foundation’s SHINE award, has also saved approximately £27 per consultant appointment in clinician time because of increased productivity and patient engagement.

Desiree Campbell-Richards, research nurse at Newham University Hospital who has worked on the Skype project, said: “By giving young people the choice of using Skype we saw some patients who had disengaged with us come back to clinic.”

“It wasn’t just about flexibility for the young people but about their confidence in the service and feeling able to have an honest connection with the clinicians.”

A total of 480 webcam appointments took place over the past four-year trial for patients at Newham University Hospital and Barts Health NHS Trust.

The scheme has proved so successful that health officials have now rolled out Skype appointments to all of its patients across all age groups.

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The Skype consultation is available for those patients who do not require physical examination and who are seeking advice.

This could range from advice on insulin dosage, support with lifestyle decisions or a request for a conversation with a clinician for further help.

Patients were consulted before the scheme took effect and NHS guidance about privacy have been issued.

The health service estimates that further savings could be made through a reduction in missed appointments and a decrease in A&E attendees.

The Young Adult Diabetes Service at Newham has around 215 patients between 16 and 25 on its records.