Health

Hospital app helps deliver best care for diabetes in pregnancy

Limerick midwife's creation a first for Ireland

Tipperary Star reporter

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Hospital app helps deliver best care for diabetes in pregnancy

University Maternity Hospital Limerick staff at the launch of the Managing Diabetes in Pregnancy app

University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) is harnessing smartphone technology to help staff deliver the best care for diabetes during pregnancy, with the launch of its new Managing Diabetes in Pregnancy app.

The creation of the new app, a first for Irish maternity hospitals, has been led by registered advanced midwife practitioner Yvonne Moloney, and developed by Appiercom Software Solutions.

It’s a 21st century take on the hard copy pocket reference book for staff at UMHL, known as The Pink Pocketbook. What was once a static manual, now, as an app, will benefit from ongoing content updates, and a live noticeboard to keep all staff and students notified of training days, new treatments, and other crucial information.

Yvonne, who had earlier developed the content for the pink book with consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr John Slevin, and consultant endocrinologist Dr Eoin Noctor, says the app builds on the educational benefits of the pocketbook and helps staff to stay ahead of the curve in a medical field that is steadily evolving and changing.

Uptake has been brisk. On launch day alone, assisted by an information stand in the hospital, some 118 staff members registered, and the app was also loaded on to desktop terminals in each clinical area.

“The pink book was an important resource for midwives/nurses, student midwives and junior doctors in UMHL. It set out information about the different types of diabetes, blood sugar levels, and the latest types of insulin and devices,” Yvonne explains.

“However, it was easily mislaid, and devising a book to stay up-to-date with research and treatments was very difficult. For example, 20 years ago, there were six insulin products, in 2020 there are 20 to consider, including many new insulin delivery devices, monitors and sensors available. Thanks to the noticeboard feature, the new app can provide updates for staff, with links to the relevant information online,” she adds.

Yvonne got the idea for the app during her studies for a Master’s in Healthcare Management in RCSI. The app has been two years in the making, with funding approved by UL Hospitals Group chief executive officer Colette Cowan and chief operations officer Noreen Spillane, and the encouragement and support of maternity hospital management and the associate clinical director of maternal and child health, Dr Naro Imcha.

Dr Imcha applauded Yvonne’s leadership and initiative: “This is a perfect example of our organisational culture, which encourages bottom-up efforts in quality improvement and enthusiastic top-down support from hospital management. Globally, the numbers of pregnant women with diabetes has been on the increase. With this initiative, UMHL continues to demonstrate its commitment to transform the delivery of better care using modern technologies.”

Eileen Ronan, director of midwifery at UMHL is pleased to support the launch of the Managing Diabetes in Pregnancy app. “I wish Yvonne every success with this app. It’s an important new development that will assist in providing enhanced maternity services in UMHL, in line with the national maternity strategy, Creating a Better Future Together."

Yvonne will remain in charge of the content of the app, working with Appiercom Software Solutions CEO Declan Hayes and the company’s training and support manager Andrew Cowpar to ensure seamless updates.

“The app helps our staff to stay up to date with the latest developments. It keeps us in step with our service users. Patients are more educated because of ease of Internet access and the app helps us to anticipate queries on treatment and devices and deliver informed advice and guidance,” she explains.

“It’s a fantastic resource for busy staff on the wards and clinical areas who may not have regular access to desktop PCs - this way, they have everything at their fingertips, from the latest information on research and treatments globally, down to when the next study workshop is taking place locally,” Yvonne saids.