View Full Version : Diabetes trials in Caithness

24-Nov-11, 17:47
New tele-health clinic trials will speed up appointments for local patients

CAITHNESS patients with diabetes have been involved in trials of a new tele-health clinic that would help to speed up appointments with their consultants.
North Highland Community Health Partnership (CHP) is piloting telehealth consultations in the diabetes service at the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso.
This would reduce consultant travelling time, which would enable them to see more patients, thus reducing the length of time patients have to wait for return appointments.
It would also reduce the need for patients to travel to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness if they needed a review before the next planned local clinic in North Highland CHP.
Consultant Diabetologist and Endocrinologist, Professor Sandra MacRury, explained that a trial telehealth clinic for diabetes was held in October and the first real telehealth clinic with patients was held on November 4.
She said: “The patients involved were comfortable with the technology and felt that videoconferencing (VC) consultations worked well. A formal evaluation of the clinic will be carried out within the next month and we are hoping they will be implemented in January of next year.”
Three patients took part in the first telehealth clinic and all strongly agreed or agreed that VC was an acceptable way of meeting the specialist, there was enough time to discuss problems, they felt comfortable talking via a television screen and the clinic met their needs.
One of the patients said they would be quite happy to use VC again as they could see it saved on time to travel and another described it as “a cost-effective and efficient way of having a consultation”.
The third patient said: “I definitely still want to see the consultant face to face as I would not want all appointments replaced, but am happy with routine appointments by videolink.”
Prof. MacRury said telehealth clinics would not replace face to face consultations, but could be used for alternate appointments with consultants.
The diabetes clinic telehealth pilot builds on the success of other telehealth projects in North Highland CHP and across the area covered by NHS Highland.
Other North Highland projects include the teledialysis VC link between Caithness General Hospital and Raigmore Hospital and the speech therapy telehealth project, which is using VC links at Caithness General Hospital in Wick and the Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie.
Locality General Manager, Pauline Craw, said: “These are both working well. They are saving patients travelling and mean that consultants can see more patients in the available time.
The CHP is further developing telehealth by installing VC units at Kinlochbervie, Durness and Bettyhill, with a view to expanding the services being delivered by VC. These are additional to the units already in place at Armadale and Lochinver.”
Audit Scotland’s review of telehealth in Scotland, published in October of this year stated that telehealth is most well used in the north of Scotland.
It says: “NHS Grampian and NHS Highland are responsible for nearly half of the telehealth initiatives that have been introduced in Scotland. They are using telehealth in the widest range of clinical areas and both have a number of joint initiatives in place with the island boards (NHS Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles). Many of these initiatives involve the use of video-conferencing, to provide access to healthcare for patients in more remote areas.”