(RxWiki News) The health care world can be a hectic place. There is rarely enough time for doctors to attend to patients' every need. That's why tools that save time can also improve patient care.
The diabetes dashboard is a new tool that lets doctors look at patients' diabetes-related health information on one computer screen. The tool saves time, increases accuracy, and improves patient care.
"The less time your doctor spends looking at charts, the more time he has with you."
Caring for patients with diabetes is a complex task because of the amount of other health problems that are related to the disease, says researcher Richelle Koopman, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. Doctors have to coordinate a variety of treatments for their diabetes patients. The diabetes dashboard is designed to make this coordination easier so that doctors can make better decisions about the course of treatment.
The diabetes dashboard gathers information about patients' vital signs, health conditions, and current medications into a single computer screen. The dashboard also lets doctors know which laboratory tests may be needed.
In a recent study, Dr. Koopman and colleagues put the diabetes dashboard to the test. They found that doctors who used the tool were able to find the information they were looking for 100 percent of the time. In comparison, doctors that used conventional electronic medical records found that information 94 percent of the time.
Doctors who used the dashboard also spent less time looking for information. They only needed three mouse clicks to find the information they needed, compared to 60 clicks for those using conventional records.
Instead of spending their time searching through charts of data, the time saved using the dashboard gives doctors more opportunity to talk with their patients about lifestyle and diet changes that are central to fighting diabetes, says Dr. Koopman.
The full results of the study appear in the Annals of Family Medicine.