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Medical and IT expertise combine to improve care for Parkinson’s patients

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A pioneering system has been developed to ensure Parkinson’s patients throughout NHSGGC get swift access to their medication on admission to hospital, thanks to a combination of a dedicated consultant and a keen IT specialist.

A UK-wide Parkinson’s Audit of patients showed far higher satisfaction rates in NHSGGC, compared to the rest of the country, but one area did concern medics and that related to how quickly they were given their Parkinson’s medication on admission to hospital.

Dr Anne Louise Cunnington from Glasgow Royal Infirmary explained: “Patients with Parkinson’s, like any other patients, can be admitted to hospital for any number of reasons, such as a heart attack or serious infection, ie not necessarily because of their Parkinson’s. This means the focus of their treatment would be on the primary reason for their admission.

“But for this group of patients particularly, it is vital that while they are being treated for something else, they don’t miss out on the medication they need for Parkinson’s. This is a very vulnerable group and missing just a few doses of their regular drugs can have a very serious impact on them.

“That’s why I set about devising a way to help identify these patients as soon as they are admitted to any of our hospitals to ensure we know they have Parkinson’s and are getting the right medication, in the right dose and at the right time.”

Dr Cunnington knew exactly what was required, but just needed some data analyst expertise to make it happen.

“Thankfully Jonathan Todd in Information Management shared my enthusiasm and drive to make things better for these patients. Together we worked on an data solution which would flag up when a Parkinson’s patient was brought in and alert their nurse specialist and consultant.

“That’s when the dashboard was born! This allows Movement Disorder Teams to identify when people with Parkinson’s are admitted to any ward in any hospital in Greater Glasgow and Clyde within hours of admission. The Parkinson’s team can then contact the ward to ensure their patient is receiving the right medication at the right time and dose. It is very simple, but very effective.

“The dashboard has also helped raise awareness amongst staff and has brought this issue to the forefront of their mind.

“Not only does this improve things for the patients themselves, but it also saves money for the NHS as it’s proven that given the right medication, hospital stays will be shorter and beds will be freed up for other patients. It really is a win, win situation and I am confident that this will continue to help many Parkinson’s patients in the future.”


Picture courtesy of Kirsty Anderson/Herald&Times

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

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Last Updated: 11 November 2021