19 August 2013
As global rates of diabetes escalate, a Monash University study suggests that Internet technologies may be helping to overcoming the impact on the Australian healthcare system.
The study, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, monitored 577 diabetes patients over 14 months. It showed significant improvements in quality of care and clinical outcomes for patients whose care was supported by internet-based care management service, cdmNet.
The study was led by Professor Grant Russell, Head of the School of Primary Healthcare, and director of the Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit (SAPCRU) at Monash as well as Professor Peter Schattner of the Department of General Practice.
Professor Schattner said that healthcare innovation arising from the effective use of digital technologies improved information gathering, research, treatments and communications.
“Internet-based tools such as cdmNet are an emerging area which will enable GPs to communicate more efficiently with other members of the health care team, and provide patients with more effective clinical reviews,” Professor Schattner said.
“These are important issues in the care of patients with diabetes, the overwhelming majority of which is treated in general practice.”
The web-based service assists GPs and patients to manage chronic diseases and other illnesses. Using cdmNet, any member of the patient’s care team can access the patient’s health record and care plan, including the GP, specialists, allied health, pharmacists, and the patient themselves.
When comparing patients before and after the use of cdmNet, significant health-related improvements where observed.
The study found 80 per cent of the patients on a care plan created and managed using cdmNet were regularly reviewed and followed up. Of those patients who received regular reviews, 85 per cent adhered to best practice care.
More than seven million Australians have a chronic disease, costing the health care system more than $70 billion per year.
In the next five years, diabetes alone will become the leading cause of death and illness in Australia, which now has 1.5 million people living with the disease, according to Diabetes Australia. By 2025, it's estimated three million people will be affected.