Innovative virtual care for diabetes patients with COVID-19 in the Western Sydney Local Health District

Westmead Hospital’s Professor Wah Cheung, Director of Diabetes and Endocrinology, together with his team at the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) have used a revolutionary virtual way of providing care to safely look after a large number of diabetes patients with COVID-19.

The team used a dashboard which shows what is happening with patient glucose levels in hospital.

Together with electronic medical records, electronic prescribing and the use of videoconferencing, the diabetes team were able to identify patients with high glucose levels and then discuss and manage them through a virtual environment.

“Doing this virtually enabled us to care for many more people with COVID-19 and diabetes than if we were to do it face-to-face,” said Dr Cheung.

“It also ensured greater safety for staff and reduced use of PPE as the diabetes team did not have to go into patient rooms to organise diabetes care.”

Looking forward, the virtual system can be used to look after more patients outside of the COVID-19 environment which Dr Cheung said is useful because “we know that having better glucose control is better for the outcome of hospitalised patients due to the reduced rate of infection and other complications”.

“Using the virtual care system on a daily basis means providing care for so many more patients,” explained Dr Cheung.

“Everybody worked together to provide multidisciplinary care through virtual means.”

Professor Wah Cheung’s team at Westmead Hospital’s 2022 QuWest Awards