There are some 30,000 diabetic patients across South East Hampshire and Portsmouth alone. To provide the most efficient specialist care, Southern Diabetes Medical Services (SDMS) delivers expert clinical advice to primary care physicians and allied healthcare professionals who have direct contact with diabetic patients.
But in a time of NHS cutbacks, the service needed to find ways to operate as cost-effectively as possible. With a number of NHS Trusts reaping the benefits of mobile working, SDMS was looking for a way to improve the speed and availability of consultative services without adding more costs.
“The Smartnumbers service is easy to use and provides access to the specialist care and knowledge base that patients require.”
After looking at various options, the SDMS team turned to mobile communications technology to help them solve the challenge.
Smartnumbers service now ensures GP surgeries and other healthcare workers have instant access to a diabetes expert whenever they call the dedicated helpline. smartnumbers enables this by directing calls to any specialist across any combination of fixed or mobile networks.
This means calls can be routed to suit the user’s location and circumstance (for example if a consultant is working from home, or cannot be reached for some reason), so calls are delivered to the SDMS team based on availability, and regardless of their location.
If a specialist is not available or the service is out of hours, the smartnumbers system can redirect calls to the first one available, or bring up a voicemail system.
There is now guaranteed access to specialist diabetic support as and when it is required. On top of this, as doctors and nurses now have faster access to specialist advice, they can provide better and more immediate care to patients.
This has resulted in improved patient care, reduction in the number of referrals and unnecessary appointments with consultants.
The Smartnumbers enabled initiative has resulted in the discharge of 642 patients from secondary care and has helped lower the number of new secondary care referrals from 15 to just two per month.