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Maternity Diabetes Care Goes Digital At The Royal Surrey

Published on: 30 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 4 Sep, 2020

A new app for mobile devices has revolutionised the way care is given to diabetic pregnant women at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

The hospital reports that pregnant women are able to track their blood sugar levels from home using a monitoring device that syncs to the app, called GDm-Health. This then sends the data in real time to the maternity team who can track and prioritise patients who may need intervention.

Diabetes specialist midwife Paula Lavandeira Fernandez with the new app on a mobile phone.

To date, 98% of maternity patients with diabetes have opted in to use the app for their pre-natal care.

Paula Lavandeira Fernandez, a diabetes specialist midwife, explained how it works. She said: “When we have a diabetic mother-to-be we want to be able to track their sugar levels and make sure everything is as it should be.

“Before the app we had to ring the patient throughout the day or have them come on site. Now women can take their own readings from the comfort of their home and the data gets sent to the team to look at.

“We can then make a clinical judgement on which patients may need intervention or a phone call and which patients can continue with their day.”

Women can also send any questions via the new app to a clinician, giving them extra peace of mind.

Other benefits include: reducing attendance to hospital, reducing the time for interventions by 21%, reducing call volumes by 70% and allowing more clinical time.

Jennifer Perri-Damiano, from Woking, commented on how much smoother the app has made her pregnancy experience: She said: “The app has changed my experience of dealing with gestational diabetes, especially compared to my previous pregnancy.

“This time around I do not have to attend review appointments every week – instead the app does it all.

“Through the app, I am able to add comments to my food diary and request a call-back if I am not sure about something.

“The team is super-efficient in returning calls and responding to messages so I feel well looked after and monitored. It has saved me so many trips to hospital and has made me feel more in control of my condition.”

As a result of the success of this scheme, the hospital is also looking into a similar method to monitor mothers who have high blood pressure.

Gestational diabetes is an increasing problem in the UK. Frequent face-to-face appointments for diabetes in pregnancy can overly medicalise pregnancy as well as result in lots of time spent at, and travelling to or from, hospital. This can increase anxiety and take away a woman’s feeling of control over their pregnancy as it is closely monitored by medical professionals.

Story based on a press release from the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust.

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