Heliant’s platform, eDijabetes, has proven to be extremely useful and has ensured the provision of healthcare services to numerous patients. It is efficient, it allows saving time as well as direct communication between colleagues,” says MD Marija Glavinić from the Diabetes Counselling Centre of the Zemun Primary Healthcare Centre.


Electronic counselling are a type of telemedicine that is used to conduct non-contact examinations when they are medically justified. For patients suffering from diabetes, the Ministry of Health has recognized the need and possibility to improve health care through the institutional eKonsultacije platform.


There are many cases when, in order to assess the patient’s health condition, it is sufficient to exchange documentation and laboratory analyses between the healthcare centre and the hospital or clinical centre. Then, when the chosen doctor concludes that the patient’s personal presence at the examination is not necessary, the eDijabetes digital platform developed by the HELIANT company in cooperation with the University Clinical Centre of Serbia (UKCS). By using the eDijabetes platform, within the framework of healthcare systems and a safe environment, physicians exchange documentation and reports with each other and allow patients to receive the findings and opinion of a specialist with possible adjustment of treatment only after a visit to the healthcare centre.


The pilot project for the implementation of the eDijabetes platform has recently been completed, in which Valjevo General Hospital and Zvezdara, Valjevo and Zemun primary healthcare centres participated, in addition to UCCS.. Dozens of counselling were conducted through the platform, and in one case even hospitalization took place. For the time being, the platform is only available in these healthcare facilities, and the good results of the pilot project recommend eDijabetes for use at the national level, when patients suffering throughout Serbia would have a more facilitated treatment. It is extremely important to emphasize that this type of examination reduces the risk of infection for both physicians and patients. We talk about the experiences and impressions from the pilot project with MD Marija Glavinić Mijić from the Diabetes Counselling Centre of the PHC “Zemun”.


Heliant: What do you think about the importance of electronic counselling today when the covid pandemic has forced us to use non-traditional solutions?


MD Marija Glavinić: At the time when we got involved in electronic counselling, I saw it as a “light at the end of the tunnel”, since it was the time of covid, when consultations between different levels of healthcare facilities was interrupted except for personal contacts, because most were in the “red zone”.


There were very few physicians who were at disposal to patients at the time who were not in the “red zone”, and the influx of patients who were not covid-positive and who needed somewhat more urgent help was significant even then.


This form of electronic communication has proven to be very effective. That idea was extremely useful and was materialized at the right time. You were actually able to take care of the patients who needed it most, to get advice for patients who had already been examined, reducing the number of contacts, because there was a risk of infecting both patients and fellow colleagues, who did not have to expose themselves to more risk than necessary.


Heliant: What is your experience with using the eDijabetes platform? What are the benefits for physicians and patients?


MD Glavinić: I can speak about my personal experience and the experience of the two specialist interns who worked with me – for us, electronic counselling was an extremely useful option and help that appeared at the right moment because it helped to provide healthcare services to a large number of patients.


The benefits are, above all, time saving, efficiency, direct communication between colleagues without fear that the patient will lose any paper report.


You have direct communication with someone who has examined the patient. It is very difficult to make a decision with the help of telemedicine about the treatment of a person whom you have not seen, but if you have good two-way communication and a good agreement about what is done and how, then it is extremely useful. I even think that we made it much easier to schedule hospitalization and change treatment more easily and quickly.


The application also helps the patient because it shortens wandering through the entire system. Secondly, you can track everything that has been done with that patient in the health care facilities, and you will relieve the health care system because, for example, you will not have to do double triage procedure.


Not only from the point of view of the physician who has used eDijabetes, but also from the side of the patient, I can say that they accepted it with enthusiasm and relief. They were normally scared of covid, because they were a particularly high-risk group, so they were grateful because they didn’t have to go to healthcare facilities more often than necessary.


Heliant: What are the impressions of patients who have undergone the new way of examination? What do they emphasize as the most important solution?


MD Glavinić: The thing that wandering through the healthcare system is reduced. It is extremely comfortable when you have a good team. Patients have one visit to a physician, after that they are informed about the outcome of the consultation, they are scheduled for a new consultation with their physician…


These are usually elderly people, who cannot handle their condition on their own very well, they are not willing, especially when they are very unwell, to go “here and there”. Therefore, both the number of visits to physicians is shortened, and the way to receive their treatment is simplified. It is enough for them to call and have their hospitalization scheduled directly. All this facilitates the movement of patients through the system, which, I assume, was the basic idea behind the introduction of the eDijabetes application.


Heliant: Would you like to share some impressions that we didn’t ask you about?


MD Glavinić: Diabetes is a good field for these digital technologies. This type of electronic peer-to-peer consultation, which used to be in paper form everywhere, is much more efficient. Personally, I was happy that I could turn to someone with information about how much I had done with the patient and where the colleague could continue after me. It is very good for the people who work in the system, and especially for the patients.


At the same time, it would be good to work on the education and motivation of physicians to work in this new system. Digitization is a serious issue in our healthcare system. You should ask your colleagues from higher levels of healthcare service provision how much information they get from reports, and how much information they can get from the electronic documentation they can access. Essentially, efforts must be invested to strengthen trust within the healthcare system. I mean the competence of a physician who sends the results of the consultation and the one who responds.


Priorities would have to be clearly separated, so as not to risk of loading the doctor who should engage in consultation with work. Those are two potential dangers that could be solved by some “traffic light system” or something similar.