Using patient online services to enable a person-centred care for people managing diabetes

Diabetes finger test

18 January 2018

Maintaining day-to-day good health and well-being is key to successful long-term provision of diabetes care but is also vital in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes-related complications and co-morbidities. However, ongoing diabetes management can be complex for patients, nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals. Patients with diabetes visit their GP practice and the local hospital frequently. Once co-morbidities arise people can experience multiple blood tests, scans, x-rays, and other investigations on a regular basis. Diabetes UK recommends 15 different checks and services that people with diabetes are entitled to.

'Personalised healthcare focuses on what is important to people'

It can be difficult for patients to understand and retain all the information they are given about their health, to the detriment of their ability and motivation to make the daily decisions that are needed for healthy outcomes. And these every day decisions around their diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol, foot care or adherence to prescribed medication matter. The added complication being that at any one time these issues may not matter equally to individual patients and their priorities or understanding of their own health needs may differ.

In the new NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England recognises that personalised healthcare that focuses on what is important to the individual can ‘meaningfully improve care outcomes’. Providing information at their fingertips, may allow patients to monitor the effectiveness of their self-care, identifying what aspects are going well, or less well. This information and monitoring enables patients to assess their own health-related priorities and make decisions based on what matters to them. Rather than being solely the recipients of healthcare, patients can become engaged partners in the maintenance of their health. This applies to other long-term conditions as well. 

'Allowing patients to monitor their healthcare'

The role of Patient Online record access for patients with diabetes is to make their health information available to help them participate in their care. It is a pillar of person-centred care and can promote a better understanding of long-term effects that choices about lifestyle and medication make to their health. This in turn can support decision making and patient prioritisation around their self-care routine.

Patient Online encourages patient engagement by allowing easy access to appointments, medications, and the patient’s record. Record access allows patients to monitor their healthcare and decide their priorities with accurate and timely information. They can prepare for consultations and check their care plans. In a wider context, Patient Online also allows patients to share access with family members and carers, and their wider healthcare team, who help them with managing their diabetes. 

Supporting informed decision-making and collaborative problem-solving by patient with the support of the healthcare team is at the core of Patient Online. We have produced a Patient Online toolkit to enable a person-centred approach to care for people managing multiple long-term conditions, to support improved clinical outcomes and quality of life. 

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