A new mobile app has revolutionised the way care is given to diabetic pregnant women at the Trust.
Pregnant women are able to track their blood sugar levels from home using a monitoring device that syncs to the mobile app, called ‘GDm-Health’. This then sends the data in real time to the Maternity Team at Royal Surrey, who can track and prioritise patients who may need intervention.
So far 98 per cent of maternity patients with diabetes have opted in to use the app for their pre-natal care.
Paula Lavandeira Fernandez, a diabetes specialist midwife, explains how it works: “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 per cent, reducing call volumes by 70 per cent and freeing up clinical time.
Jennifer Perri-Damiano, from Woking, commented on how much smoother the app has made her pregnancy experience: “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.”
Louise Stead, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “Our maternity services are currently rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission – something we are extremely proud of.
“Taking this kind of digital approach means that mothers-to-be have more control over their care and greater peace of mind through easy access to clinical advice. Its ability to be used remotely has been especially important during the pandemic.”
As a result of the success of this scheme, the team at Royal Surrey are 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.