Health Call has launched a new digital health service for gestational diabetes in the North East of England. The collaboration of NHS trusts has designed the programme to observe and check on the progress of expectant mothers with the condition. It is the first in a number of digitised care pathways to be rolled out across the North East via the ground-breaking Health Call partnership.
Gestational diabetes affects around 1-in-20 women in the UK and poses a particular risk to those who are overweight, have a family history of diabetes or origins in south Asia, China, Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East. It can lead to induced labour, caesarian section or even stillbirth.
The new service allows clinicians to remotely monitor sufferers and empowers users to manage their own health. Patients test their blood sugar levels with a glucose meter between two and seven times per day. They send their results safely and securely via mobile phone app or text message for analysis according to rules set by clinicians. If levels breach personalised thresholds, clinicians are notified and can step in as necessary with medical intervention, reassurance or advice about diet and lifestyle. Patients can use the service to access additional information about gestational diabetes and increase their understanding of the condition, which can encourage healthy behaviour.
The new service is being rolled out by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. They pooled their combined experience of previous in-house services to redesign a new and improved version for the wider region.
The organisations are part of Health Call, a group of six NHS trusts in the North East of England which allows best practice and diverse clinical expertise to be shared across a population area of three million people.
“This new service is a great example of regional collaboration where knowledge and experience is shared for the benefit of patients, clinicians and the health care budget,” said Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, which provides the digital infrastructure for Health Call.
“The introduction of a mobile phone app is ideal for the target demographic and will help give peace to mind to expectant mothers as they manage this challenging condition.
“The next phase will be to roll out the service across the North East.”
Health Call built the new service using Inhealthcare’s toolkit, which enables clinical teams to design, build and roll out new digital health services at speed. Patient data is hosted inside the NHS network and meets all Department of Health’s guidelines for information governance.