New diabetes computer tool saves time, improves patient care

A new diabetes management computer tool consolidates a patient’s complete health history in one place. Physicians can use it to provide better care, save time, and increase accuracy, according to a paper published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

Developed by University of Missouri researchers, “diabetes dashboard” pulls up a patient's vital signs, medical conditions, current medications, and laboratory test results in one computer screen. It eliminates the need to search through a patient’s charts to find relevant information about his or her diabetes-related conditions.

According to the study, the diabetes dashboard helped physicians find the data they needed 100 percent of the time. Physicians using traditional electronic medical records had a 94 percent success rate.

Diabetes presents a complicated set of health challenges that affect several areas of the body. The dashboard helps physicians get a more accurate view of the patient's other health conditions and formulate a unique treatment plan.

“The diabetes dashboard is so intuitive that it makes it hard for physicians not to do the right thing,” said Richelle Koopman, associate professor of family and community medicine at University of Missouri School of Medicine. “Doctors can see, at a glance, everything that might affect their decision.”

Physicians participating in the study used only 3 mouse clicks to find the information they needed, compared to 60 mouse clicks using traditional electronic medical records.

“It is difficult to quantify how much money the dashboard saves, but in terms of time and accuracy, the savings are substantial,” Koopman said. “Doctors are still going to spend 15 minutes with each patient, but instead of using a large portion of that time to search through charts for information, they can have interactive conversations with patients about lifestyle and diet changes that are important for diabetes care.”

Diabetes increases the risk for complications including heart disease, hypertension, blindness, amputations, skin disease, hearing loss.

Source: University of Missouri

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