Q&A: Bruce Richards and John Sanderson on Diabetes Care and Technology

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ADiabetes Professional Care 2016, people are provided a great forum for discovering and developing the future of diabetes care, allowing visitors to see the state-of-the-art technology, hear about the latest research, while also networking with myriad industry experts.

Among the world’s’ biggest names at the event, which takes place in London, will be Bruce Richards and John Sanderson. The two are Directors at Hicom, providers of adult and children’s diabetes management systems Diamond and Twinkle.

Here, John and Bruce share their thoughts on diabetes care, technology and areas of resistance.


Q. What does it take to make integrated care work within the health sector? Who would it positively impact the most?

A. Integrated care only works where there is close collaboration between primary, secondary and community healthcare providers responsible for the management of patient care. The key is the standardisation of protocols and alignment in clinical care processes. The major enabler for this is making sure that patient data is collected in a consistent way and available at the point of patient care.

It is essential that healthcare professions involved in the patient’s care have access to a comprehensive patient history to enable appropriate decisions to be made about the on-going management of the condition.

Integrated care provides considerable benefit to both the patients and the care providers.  Providers benefit from having access to a patient’s history, enabling them to make informed decisions about the on-going care of the patients at the point of patient contact.  Improvements in data sharing also allow patients to be managed within the community, reducing the reliance of high-cost specialist referrals.  Patients ultimately benefit from a more efficient and effective healthcare delivery system.

Q. What is the single most important aspect of day-to-day diabetes care for better patient outcomes?

A. Having access to accurate and up-to-date patient data.  This is vital to ensure that the most appropriate care is delivered to the patient anywhere within the community and at the right point in time. With so many potential complications associated with diabetes, it is essential that healthcare professions involved in the patient’s care have access to a comprehensive patient history to enable appropriate decisions to be made about the on-going management of the condition.

Q. Is technology helping us take better diabetes care out into the community? How do we ensure that relevant information is delivered to the right person at the right time, securely?

A. Absolutely. Without technology as an enabler, it would be impossible to ensure timely access to reliable patient data.  As mentioned above, diabetes is a complex condition so access to high-quality data at the point of patient care is essential to ensure appropriate treatment. Extended use of technology beyond the healthcare team, in particular integration with medical diagnostic devices and providing patients with access to their own data, can provide significant value in terms of enhanced education and improved patient engagement in the management of their own care.

Q. Should we have totally paperless clinic environments? If so, why?

A. Absolutely.  Part of the reason why integrated care is not as effective as it can be is because of the out-dated reliance on paper, which is primarily born from a nervousness in moving away from traditional methods.  Systems are stable, reliable and accessible so there is no longer an excuse for paper notes.

Providing patients with access to their own data, can provide significant value in terms of enhanced education and improved patient engagement in the management of their own care.

Truly integrated care, which connects disparate points in the care continuum, is only possible with a fully paperless solution. Although the paperless argument is not as strong within a single clinic / single location environment, with paper information sharing is more difficult, and there is a considerable overhead in terms of time and cost in recording, storing and locating notes, which ultimately impacts on patient care.

Q. Where do you encounter the most resistance to change in the diabetes arena?

A. We come across very little resistance to change actually.  Almost everyone we deal with, from the clinical team to the IT department, understands what needs to be done and is committed to change – this is particularly true with integrated care initiatives. That said, long-established policies (such as a reliance on paper notes for example) and the lack of resources, time and funding available within the NHS means that not all good ideas are followed through and there is a general reluctance to innovate where the benefits cannot be accurately quantified at the outset.

 

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