Practice nurses can target people missing their diabetes requirements using new 'information prescriptions' created by Diabetes UK.
The prescription programme was launched on 27 January on EMIS Web, an IT system used in over half the general practices in the UK.
If someone is not meeting their targets for blood pressure, cholesterol or blood glucose then an alert will come up on the practice nurse's computer. The practice nurse then provides the patient with an individualised information prescription, outlining the ways they can meet their goals before their next review.
The one-page document is filled out at each review based on the patients' diabetes management. This can include advice and aims on health interventions such as diet, exercise and medication.
Sandi Kendall, a senior practice nurse from London involved in piloting the prescriptions, said that she had seen a difference in the degree to which patients were engaged with their condition. 'I have been piloting the document for over six months and since then I have not had anyone missing a review, which used to happen regularly before I started using this. A lot more of my patients are now engaged with how to manage their conditions.'
'The document also helps to ensure that the patients receive care that is individual to them. It means that their reviews are more targeted and that the 20 minutes is better spent covering things more thoroughly.'
Amy Rylance, head of healthcare professional engagement at Diabetes UK, said that before the information prescription was introduced, practice nurses had concerns about the annual diabetes reviews and felt they were just a box ticking exercise. 'They said that it wasn't very satisfying and that it was a massive process to undertake. It was also difficult to change patient behaviour and change the way that they engaged with and understood their diabetes.'
Diabetes UK created the document to make sure people with diabetes get the information they need, when they need it, along with suggested actions such as joining a walking group or testing their blood glucose levels more often. The aim is to cut down unproductive time in consultations spent locating the previous review notes since everything is integrated into the IT system. The charity said it also encourages continuity of care.
Diabetes UK hopes the programme will be implemented across IT systems in surgeries across the UK in the coming weeks.
The 'information prescription' programme can be downloaded by practices and there is no extra cost to embed it into the system.