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Diabetes charity encourages practice nurses to use ‘information prescriptions’

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Diabetes UK is encouraging nurses working in primary care to more widely adopt so-called “information prescriptions”, which the charity said was already leading to better care.

The charity said practice nurses and GPs across the UK were improving care for thousands of patients with type 2 diabetes via the idea, which was developed in partnership with EMIS Health.

“Presenting it as written information, with the backing of Diabetes UK, gives it added credibility”

Nicola Milne

The system alerts clinicians to key information on their patients’ condition during consultations and also give patients tailored information to self-manage at home.

For example, the prescriptions guide clinicians to the patients’ HbA1c levels, blood pressure and cholesterol on the EMIS Web clinical system during consultations.

In addition, they direct the clinician to the alert that needs most urgent attention, highlight the patients’ two most recent results for all three tests, and automatically save in their notes.

Meanwhile, a single sheet of information can be printed off for the patient with agreed targets to self-manage at home.

Clinicians have reported that the system is helping to improve care and empowering patients, according to the charity.

“We have listened to people with diabetes and healthcare professionals to design a simple and effective tool”

Fola Omotunde

Practice nurse Nicola Milne, from the Northenden Group Practice in Manchester, said: “Information prescriptions really are helping us to provide better diabetes care for thousands of people.

“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,” she said.

“In addition, 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,” said Ms Milne.

She noted that presenting the advice as “written information” with the backing of Diabetes UK gave it “added credibility”.

Ms Milne, who currently manages almost 700 patients with type 2 diabetes, is on the charity’s working group that is helping develop information prescriptions and cited its future expansion.

“We are now looking at diabetes and pregnancy,” she said. “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,” she added.

Fola Omotunde, head of the healthcare professional engagement team at Diabetes UK, said: “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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