Newham project’s award for helping diabetics to have appointments on Skype

A project that allows diabetics to have outpatient appointments via Skype has won an award.

The Diabetes Appointment via Webcam in Newham programme has won a Quality in Care Programme Award for best initiative supporting a positive patient experience and equality of care in ‘hard to reach’ groups.

It was set up in partnership between East London NHS Foundation Trust and Barts Health NHS Trust in response to rising demand on diabetes services, poor access to care, poor health outcomes and particularly high ‘did not attend rates’ of 30-50 per cent.

The one year pilot study replaced routine follow-up outpatient appointments for patients not requiring physical examination with web-based consultations. This project provides more accessible and cost-effective diabetes care by replacing routine follow-up out-patient appointments for patients who don’t require physical examination with web-based consultations.

Judges’ said it was “a brilliant project with major benefits to both people with diabetes and doctors. Healthcare professionals were able to target a hard to reach group in an innovative way. Young adults are often those with the greatest need and they can engage via this method.”

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Patients reported that web consultations saved them time, were far more convenient and cheaper. They said they preferred them and would be more likely to attend them.

Newham has continued with Skype appointments as a permanent feature for diabetes outpatients and is planning a longer study to verify findings and explore other innovative ways to use webcam technology as part of outpatient care.

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The project has also reached the final of national awards for best use of technology for patient care.

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