Gestational Diabetes Pathway
Company size: 12,000+ employees
Using a Pexip-powered telehealth solution, the Gestational Diabetes Pathway provides easy and accessible virtual visits for pregnant women
About the Gestational Diabetes Pathway
The award-winning Gestational Diabetes Pathway is located at Altnagelvin Area Hospital. The Western Trust is one of five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts which provide health and social services across Northern Ireland. In England, Scotland, and Wales the National Health Service (NHS) provides healthcare services while local councils provide social care services. In Northern Ireland these services are combined under what is known as Health and Social Care (HSC).
Pexip services in use
- Pexip Infinity, based on a hosted shared service for the whole of HSC, which is managed and supported by Pexip partner Hospital Services Limited (HSL). The video implementation facilitates many different clinical applications across the Trust.
Need for patients to come to the clinic for frequent appointments, which requires time and travel.
Desire for a telehealth service that is easy for patients to join, and which could provide access to consultations on any device, without extra downloads.
The need for a video solution that would integrate with the Trust’s existing systems, technology, and workflows.
The self-hosted Pexip Infinity solution provided high-quality, scalable, and secure video conferencing from any device, regardless of technology.
The solution provides easier access for patients and care providers by streamlining the user experience, removing barriers to conversations, and reducing costs.
The virtual consultations reduced face-to-face diabetes specialist appointments by 32%.
An estimated 15,811 miles of travel has been saved for 654 appointments, equating to 4.37 tons of CO2.
At Altnagelvin Area Hospital, a facility in the Western Health and Social Care Trust (HSC) in Northern Ireland, telemedicine plays an important role in providing quality, accessible care at the hospital’s Gestational Diabetes Pathway. The clinic specializes in gestational diabetes, a condition that increases the risk of complications for both mother and baby and requires expectant mothers to attend up to 13 additional appointments during their pregnancy, requiring extra time and travel.
The clinic was seeking a telehealth solution that would allow their caregivers to closely interact with patients for accurate diagnostics and treatment. They also wanted to ensure that the service was easy to use and didn’t require patients to download any new apps or programs.
From an organizational perspective, they needed a solution that would simplify and streamline their existing video communication technologies so that everything would be integrated into the Trust’s existing patient administration systems (PAS) and electronic patient records (EPR). By integrating the new video call capabilities into the existing healthcare workflow, the program could be effective, intuitive for providers, and gain widespread acceptance by both patients and providers.
Starting in January 2019, the design of the telehealth offering was led by Hospital Services Limited (HSL), a Pexip Gold Partner. The Pexip platform was chosen for its ability to provide high-quality, scalable, and secure video conferencing from any device, regardless of technology. The Pexip implementation allowed for an end-to-end solution that could integrate video seamlessly into the HSC’s IT systems, workflows, and processes.
“We made it our priority to ensure our Telehealth service by Pexip was embedded into existing procedures and processes to enable clinicians to utilise this technology without adding to their already large workload. No other service offers this level of integration, and as a result it will increase capacity in the NHS without placing extra stress on its resources. Costs are reduced and clinicians’ time better utilised while outpatients avoid the need to travel,” said Sam McMaster, Director of Telehealth at HSL.
“I can’t see our service defaulting to phone clinics. It’s just not the same when you are engaging in complex conversations like a health care consultation.”Dr Athinyaa Thiraviaraj, Consultant Physician in Diabetes & Endocrinology
Thanks to the Pexip integration, clinicians can organize a remote and secure outpatient consultation with the tap of a screen. Meanwhile, patients can easily access the sessions via a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC without any downloads or barriers to joining.
Led internally by Dr Athinyaa Thiraviaraj, Consultant Physician in Diabetes & Endocrinology, the clinicians at the Western HSC Trust have carried out 1000 consultations just between January 2019 and November 2020 via the newly integrated interface. This has allowed them to better meet patient needs and gain a more holistic view of the patient’s overall condition whilst also maintaining patient communications during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to helping patients and staff, the program has also proven the positive environmental effects of remote care. The virtual consultations reduced face-to-face diabetes specialist appointments by 32%. As the trust covers a rural area, some women were traveling more than 120 miles for each clinic visit, and the team estimate that so far the changes have saved about 15,811 miles of travel for 654 appointments, equating to 4.37 tons of CO2.
Pointing to the great success of this telemedicine program, Dr. Thiraviaraj’s team has been named as recipients of a prestigious British Medical Journal Award in the category of Innovation in Quality Improvement. The team was commended for their display of adaptability and innovative thinking to preserve a high level of patient care at a worry-filled time for expectant mothers.
“Working in partnership with women who attend our service, we have been able to develop, test, and standardise video-consultations,” said Dr. Thiraviaraj. “This has helped our service to continue with minimal interruptions through both the first and second surge of the pandemic. This innovative model of care has made it possible for us to continue our commitment to support expectant mothers at a time of anxiety and concern.”