Patients monitoring diabetes at home 'cope better than those seen only by GP'

Patients monitoring diabetes and blood pressure at home cope better than those who are only seen by their doctor, scientists have found.

New research indicates that telemonitoring devices, which record health information and send it directly to doctors, could provide better support to patients than traditional consultations.

Researchers analysed results from 321 people with type 2 diabetes for nine months.

Half the group was looked after in line with current guidelines - visiting their GP at least once a year, and more if necessary.

The rest were asked to send measurements of their blood glucose, blood pressure and weight from home via telemonitoring.

Nurses regularly checked the results sent automatically by the telemonitoring group and contacted patients if they needed to adjust treatment or make changes.

Researchers found patients in this group had significantly better control of their diabetes and blood pressure than those who were treated as usual.

The team now hopes to roll out the technology across NHS services.

Lead researcher Professor Brian McKinstry, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Medical Informatics, said: "Type 2 diabetes is a common condition for which self-management is vital.

"Previous research has shown that asking patients to manage their blood sugar levels at home is ineffective.

"This study suggests that if health information is sent directly to a GP, it can help doctors and nurses to decide which patients need help, further treatment and advice."

The study, published in PLoS Medicine, was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.