Patients with type 1 diabetes in the north of Scotland will soon be able to access specialist diabetes services from the comfort of their homes with the launch of a new virtual diabetes clinic .
The web-based clinic will be trialled across the Scottish Highlands for one year, starting in January 2013, in an effort to help type 1 diabetics living in remote areas manage their life-long condition.
The 12-month pilot will involve about 20 type 1 patients who find it hard to achieve target levels of control to prevent diabetic complications, and aims to cut the distances travelled by patients and staff to make face-to-face appointments.
Patients will be able to choose the best way to interact with a consultant, whether by email, text, phone call or video conference, and clinicians will be able to take questions and respond with clinical decision support.
Sandra MacRury, Professor of diabetes at the University of the Highlands and Islands, described the project as an add-on to face-to-face support, but said some patients may choose to have all their care provided remotely once they have their condition under control.
If successful, the virtual clinic scheme could be rolled out intro routine care for all diabetic patients in the Scottish Highlands.
According to latest figures, around 1000 people in the Highlands suffer from type 1 diabetes and a further 1300 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

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