Many rheumatology patients require the use of Disease Modifying Anti- Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) as part of their treatment to help slow disease progression and reduce pain, swelling and stiffness.
While taking this type of medication it is important that patients receive regular monthly blood tests to monitor the function of their blood cells, liver and kidneys.
At the RBFT, for patients who fall under west Berkshire CCG, the Rheumatology department uses an electronic system known as DAWN to remotely monitor patients’ bloods, as well as a variety of other investigations. Reducing the number of times patients need to visit the hospital.
Sara Burton, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Lead Nurse for Rheumatology said: “We currently have just over 3000 patients on the DAWN system. It is essential for this group of patients that they are monitored regularly so any adjustments can be made to their treatments in order to optimise their health. And, being able to do this remotely makes it so much more convenient for them.
“For patients that are more stable on their medication the remote monitoring capability of DAWN has enabled us to safely discharge them to shared care with their GP. If results of tests show they are remaining stable, they only need to return for a follow up with Rheumatology every three years – a real improvement to the service.”
One Rheumatology patient gave the service a glowing report on NHS Choices:
“I write in praise of the DAWN service for rheumatology patients. Having been a recipient of this service for the past eight months I feel totally looked after and know that if there is any change in my monthly blood test results this will immediately be followed up and treated. As a patient I appreciate and understand how fortunate I am to live in this area and so to all the doctors and nurses who operate this wonderful service - my grateful thanks.”