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27 September 2023

New tool that helps prioritise care for diabetes patients in hospital wins award

New research led by Dr Janaka Karalliedde to provide an informatics tool to identify people with diabetes that need most urgent care was recognised with a Health Service Journal (HSJ) Digital Awards.


A new tool that helps healthcare professionals prioritise care for people with diabetes waiting for hospital appointment was the winner of the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Digital Awards for ‘Driving Change through Data and Analytics’

The new paper, led by Dr Janaka Karalliedde, developed a tool to help identify and prioritise people with diabetes that need more urgent and immediate care.

As healthcare systems continue to struggle with backlogs of care, new approaches to improve clinical prioritisation could address the backlog. Such tools could help healthcare professionals determine which people visiting the hospital need to be prioritised.

Published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, the award-winning paper developed a new informatics system to identify hidden risk in people with diabetes to enable clinical prioritisation.

Clinicians used data from electronic health records for 4,022 people with diabetes to create a series of risk factors. Information was then run through the tool to identify those most at risk while waiting for an appointment.

The new informatics tool that uses data from health records to identify any one of six risk-factors in people with diabetes attending hospital appointments. Data were analysed to identify anyone who had developed one of these new risk factors since their last clinical appointment.

The results identified 549 out of the 4022 people at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital sampled as having at least one risk. In parallel hospital administrators and doctors have created a dashboard that flags up any risk to since their last appointment.

This enables them to urgently prioritise high-risk patients for treatment while also highlighting the patients at a lower risk who do not need to be seen. After a 3-month operational pilot [that tested the new informatics approach], over 40% of high-risk people evaluated with this new tool were found to have received earlier intervention or changes to their care that prevented their health worsening. The authors also note that people with at least one risk factor were more likely to be of non-Caucasian background and experience greater socio-economic deprivation, highlighting inequalities within health outcomes.

The HSJ hosts an annual awards ceremony that celebrates innovative and esteemed research and work conducted within healthcare. The Digital Awards specifically recognises impactful medical research driving change through data and analytics.

Informatics based tools and approaches such as this are invaluable in helping us identify people who are deteriorating whilst awaiting clinical review so that we ensure those who need urgent care are seen quickly while also guiding us on the use our resources in the most strategic and efficient way and can also assist us to address health inequalities."

Dr Janaka Karalliedde

This work was funded by Guy’s and St Thomas Charity and is a collaboration between Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital foundation trust Centre for Innovation, Transformation and Improvement (CITI) , clinicians and the data analytics firm Factor 50.

In this story

Janaka Karalliedde

Clinical Reader in Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease