Electronic Communication with the Diabetes Service

What you need to know

In the modern world, everyone uses smartphones and tablets for e-mail, web access etc. We are no exception and wish to communicate with you in ways you find convenient. However, security and confidentiality are important to us.

Preamble
Nowadays, we are all used to electronic communication in various forms, e-mail, SMS texts, social media etc. It is sensible for us to use these to help support healthcare where appropriate. However, it is very important for us to understand the uses and limitations of electronic communications so that we (and you) use them properly.

General principles
Your privacy and confidentiality are important so we will not and you should not commit any sensitive information to an e-mail or text. Obviously, the definition of “sensitive” is user dependent. For this reason, we will not initiate an e-mail correspondence with you without prior agreement as this could be construed as implying you have (or someone in your family has) diabetes and people vary on whether they regard this as sensitive or not. If you send us an email asking for advice about some aspect of diabetes then you have in effect declared that you are not concerned about this but we will always be careful not to divulge more than the fact of diabetes in our replies.

Advantages
It is often easier to get an answer to a quick query with an e-mail rather than trying to make direct contact. This is also a more efficient way for the team to provide general/specific advice such as about adjustments to insulin doses or pump settings.

Disadvantages
E-mail is never appropriate for urgent communication as messages may not be seen quickly - if you need advice or help immediately, always telephone.
If your question or concern is complex and likely to require discussion, e-mail is clumsy, slow and ill-suited. Either arrange a visit or use the telephone.
As indicated already, sensitive issues should not be committed to e-mail as they may be seen by inappropriate people.

Sorts of communication
Practically, we use e-mail a lot to support you especially at times of change such as around diagnosis, on commencement of pump therapy or when insulin doses are changing rapidly and you need extra help. From feedback we believe that e-mail communication is convenient and well liked.

Pump patients are asked to “upload” results to secure sites where the team can study insulin doses, glucose results etc with a view to giving results. They will generally send an e-mail to the team to indicate that new data have been uploaded.

Many families like to use e-mail for quick answers to questions about dosing, holidays etc.

We are introducing online quizzes and questionnaires on many different aspects of diabetes. This is to reinforce the knowledge you already have but also to allow us better to target teaching towards areas of weakness. These tests/quizzes will be confidential between the team and you and will be kept securely. Our intention is for you to use the same username and password throughout your time with the service during which you will complete a variety of quizzes and questionnaires.

We will ask for your e-mail address(es) and for your consent to use these.

If you have any concerns or questions about our use of electronic communications then don't hesitate to ask.

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