Healthcare App

Case Study

Paediatric Diabetes Service

 How the paediatric diabetes service of RHCYP has transitioned to a more digital service using its own communication app

Providing Support to Patients And Their Extended Networks Virtually

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People is a part of NHS Lothian in Scotland. The Paediatrics Diabetes department of the hospital uses its app to support children with diabetes.

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Getting The Word Out

With Diabetes being one of the conditions that was labelled as high-risk, the Paediatric Diabetes department of RHCYP were “extremely grateful” to have its app in place before the height of the Covid-19 crisis. Having an app in place beforehand meant that this department was better prepared to deal with the influx of inquiries about shielding, home care and access to in-person appointments. Patients’ networks were encouraged to use the app to find the answers to their frequently asked questions and information about the changes to the service previously offered.

Before its app, this department relied very heavily on a number of different paper resources and instructional materials to keep their patients, their families and carers informed of the services offered and the latest guidance on Paediatric Diabetes. As research on Paediatric Diabetes is on-going, the care advice often needed updating, and this proved difficult to manage, especially as the team had to try and keep track of which patients had which version of information. To avoid parents, families and carers seeking answers on the internet, the app serves as a “one-stop-shop” hosting only the most relevant and up-to-date information, ensuring that everyone is reliably kept in the loop.

Reassuring The Extended Support Network

Having easy access to helpful articles and resources has made a significant difference in reassuring the patient’s support networks. The support network of a child with diabetes often extends past the family to include teachers, after school group leaders and carers. Keeping the whole network reliably informed had previously proved to be a real challenge, as this involved the circulation of many different paper resources. Allowing the whole network to have access to the app, helped to build a supportive and informed community, which in turn helps to better support the care of the child. 

The Diaries and Devices section of the app has proved particularly useful, as it hosts a number of video demonstrations of administering medication and instructions for using the various of pumps and devices patients may have. This section has helped to bolster the confidence of parents and carers who are responsible for administering injections and can be used as a refresher for the training initially provided whenever needed.

Prior to having an app, we relied heavily on a number of paper resources and leaflets

— Dietician,

Paediatric Diabetes Services, RHCYP

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Saving Time and Cost

Having a digital communication solution has enabled the Paediatric Diabetes service of RHCYP to transition to a more virtual service, and its app has been instrumental in facilitating this change. Where possible, face to face interactions have been limited and patient’s support networks encouraged to use the app as a first point of call. Having its own app made it possible for the Paediatric Diabetes service to update its communication strategy, as it now sends most of its messaging via alerts in its app. “Most of our communication now is done via the app, in line with our drive towards a more digital service”. 

As well as saving time and money on producing and distributing various paper resources, this department has been able to adapt its app to use it in the “best way possible” - sending minimal alerts, to ensure that every alert is both important and engaging. As a result, the app has taken some pressure off the Paediatric Diabetes team, as patient’s support networks have instant access to advice whenever they need it. The information hosted on the app is very easily updated using its backend console, the latest research can be published quickly and efficiently, saving on admin time. The feedback from both patient’s parents and clinicians has been positive with 49 responses from app users and 29 from colleagues on a recent feedback survey.

Most of our comms are done via the app, in line with our drive towards a more digital service

- Dietician,

Paediatric Diabetes Service, RHCYP

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