American doctors get lesson in preganancy health at Sunderland Royal Hospital

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DOCTORS from the U.S. made the mother of all trips to see how pioneering work into pregnancy health issues are being treated in Sunderland.

Washington DC based doctors, Wyatt Smith and Colonel Ron Moody, who are responsible for the US Veterans Health Administrations’ mobile telehealth implementation, visited Sunderland Royal Hospital yesterday.

The informative trip came after the city was selected as one of two areas for the development of a system called Florence.

The pioneering system enables pregnant mothers with mild pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) to keep a tighter check on their health, using a daily health monitoring system which consists of a simple kit and mobile phone.

Patients are provided with simple equipment, which includes a blood pressure monitor or blood glucose machine and testing stix.

These are used at home, with results typed into a mobile phone and sent via text message to their clinical team. This saves the patient the inconvenience of attending appointments and provides more frequent checks on their health.

The system has been developed through work between the Department of Obstetrics at City Hospitals Sunderland, NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Sunderland City Council, the University of Sunderland and NHS England.

Consultants Mr Kim Hinshaw, Dr Cathy Emmerson and Dr Rahul Nayar with Midwife Janette Johnson and Diabetic Nurse Angela Purvis have led the project, with support from Mr Paul Marriott, of NHS England.

Mr Hinshaw, said: “By texting results daily the patient is reassured that their condition is being monitored and the clinical team can detect early progression to more severe form of hypertension.

“For gestational diabetes the system can improve glucose control and provide accurate insulin dosage remotely.

“We see many further potential uses of the system to enable clinicians to work in partnership with patients to ease monitoring of their condition and reduce the need for emergency intervention.

“Feedback so far shows this improves the patient’s experience as they feel more involved and in control of their monitoring and do not have the inconvenience of attending hospital for regular appointments.”

The doctors also visited the National Glass Centre before finally journeying to their twinned town Washington, to see Washington Old Hall.