Better diabetes care for thousands with information prescriptions

GPs and practice nurses across the country are improving care for thousands of patients with type 2 diabetes, thanks to a partnership between EMIS Health and Diabetes UK.

The homeless health charity Pathway developed the template in partnership with EMIS Health – the UK leader in connected healthcare software and services.  

Following two years of development, it is now available free of charge to health organisations using the EMIS Web clinical system. It was jointly developed by 11 specialist homeless healthcare services using EMIS Web in London for use by 200 staff. The aim is to roll it out across the UK and developers hope it will ultimately relieve pressure on hard-pressed hospital departments.

The template enables doctors and health workers to create and maintain a detailed picture of a homeless person’s health, capturing vital information including clinical history, mental health and addiction issues, as well as details on housing and financial status. The template utilises national clinical coding and is ‘SNOMED CT ready’.

Previously, individual hospitals were using different codes and record systems, resulting in inconsistent record-keeping that meant some homeless people were not receiving the best treatment.

Samantha Dorney-Smith, Nursing Fellow at Pathway said: “Homeless people are five times more likely to attend A&E and four times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the housed population."

Practice nurse Nicola Milne goes through an information prescription with a patient

The information prescriptions:

  • alert clinicians to the patients’ HBA1C levels, blood pressure and cholesterol on the EMIS Web clinical system during consultations
  • direct the clinician to the alert that needs most urgent attention
  • are populated with the patients’ two most recent results for all three tests
  • automatically save in the patients’ notes
  • print off as a single sheet of information for the patient with agreed targets to self-manage at home.

“The information prescriptions give quality, evidence-based, consistent and appropriate advice for each person with diabetes.”

Dr Naresh Kanumilli, Diabetes UK clinical champion and GP

Dr Kanumilli added: "They serve as an effective tool to prompt all clinicians during consultations, to include those not specifically related to diabetes, to discuss any concerns with them.”

Practice nurse Nicola Milne from Northenden Group Practice who currently manages almost 700 patients with type 2 diabetes said:“When you are consulting with someone with diabetes who feels well it can be difficult to explain to them the potential damage that could be happening within their bodies as a result of poorly controlled conditions such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and a high HbA1c.

“It is fantastic to be able to have a tool that gives patients accurate information on their condition, alongside an easy to understand graphic of what could happen if their condition isn’t managed well.

The information prescription gives the person with diabetes the information and advice to self-manage their condition and set goals, which we can discuss together. Presenting it as written information, with the backing of Diabetes UK, gives it added credibility and the link to the Diabetes UK website is also included so it opens up a wealth of information to patients."

“They help patients to better understand their condition and actively manage it.”

Nicola Milne, practice nurse, Northenden Group Practice

Nicola, who has been a practice nurse for 14 years and is also a Queen’s Nurse, is on the Diabetes UK working group that is helping to develop the information prescriptions with EMIS Health. She’s excited about future developments: “We are now looking at diabetes and pregnancy. This information prescription is for women with diabetes who are of child bearing age.  With the system alert function, we can give appropriate pre-conception advice and ensure that if a woman is planning a pregnancy then appropriate care and advice is given."

“Information prescriptions really are helping us to provide better diabetes care for thousands of people.”

Nicola Milne, practice nurse, Northenden Group Practice

Information prescriptions was awarded the QiC Collaborative Initiative Award of the Year 2016. Fola Omotunde, head of healthcare professional engagement team, Diabetes UK says, “Reducing variation in diabetes care involves all stakeholders. With the information prescriptions, we have listened to the voices of both people with diabetes and healthcare professionals to design a simple and effective tool which is now accessible to 98% of GPs in the UK.”

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