Dear Editor,

The NHS Information Centre’s recent National Diabetes Audit* highlighted the shocking statistic that around 70-75,000 diabetic patients die every year, with an estimated third of those deaths avoidable if their condition were better managed.

The costs associated with the management of the condition and the seemingly high death toll in its mismanagement are escalating at a dramatic rate and continuing to put enormous pressure on an already squeezed NHS and struggling diabetes services. Now is the time to focus on better management of the condition and raise simple education and prevention up the healthcare agenda. Basic health checks from clinicians, functionality that facilitates reminders for patients taking medication, and support in keeping to a healthy diet, all go some way in combating this deadly illness.

Improvements in proactive management of the growing diabetic population can only be achieved by delivering continuous patient interaction. A truly interactive patient portal would provide the on-going carer/patient relationship that is essential in managing these chronic conditions.

What is now required are joint pilots between the NHS and specialist software vendors that can demonstrate the clinical and financial value associated with improved patient empowerment. Proactive management of diabetes is key to enabling more patients to successfully control their diabetes within the primary care services, reducing the cost and pressure on the NHS Trusts and going some way in curbing the shocking number of deaths from this manageable and in some cases preventable disease.

Yours faithfully,

John Sanderson, Director, Hicom, www.hicom.co.uk