Online diabetes

Candice Ward, Lead CDEP Educator from Cambridge Diabetes Education Programme (CDEP) details online diabetes competency training, including the importance of improving standards and reducing variation

Diabetes management is complex, requiring appropriate knowledge to provide optimal diabetes care. The provision of safe, quality care lies within the foundations of healthcare education, continuing professional development (CPD) and evidence-based practice, which are inseparable and part of a continuum during the career of any healthcare practitioner.

The Cambridge Diabetes Education Programme (CDEP), a unique online diabetes healthcare practitioner education resource, is increasingly being recognised as a way by which Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the UK can implement far-reaching, cost-effective diabetes education for their staff. CDEP is based on the UK diabetes competency frameworks, which help structure the nature and level of diabetes skills required by all healthcare staff to support safer patient care, improved outcomes and to reduce the financial burden of diabetes.

Beyond providing opportunities for staff to undertake diabetes CPD and obtain accredited study hours and reflection documents, CDEP’s clinical feedback portal provides diabetes practice-based evidence for annual appraisals and professional revalidation portfolios.

CDEP offers competencies across five different levels (core, intermediate, diabetes specialist diabetes expert and diabetes consultant) – making it applicable to all levels of staff.

CDEP is endorsed by Diabetes UK, Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP) and the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and is accredited by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

CDEP is based on adult education principles and is designed to be done in ‘bite-size’ chunks in appreciation of the very pressured lives healthcare practitioners lead. The overall time taken to complete a topic will vary from person to person, depending on their prior level of knowledge, IT literacy and reading speed. Topics vary in length, depending on the number of competencies, but on average they take between 1-3 hours to complete. Currently, CDEP offers 15 topics in total, which amounts to 30 hours of CPD time if all 15 are completed.

Staff, with appropriate diabetes competencies for their role, tend to find CDEP improves their confidence by validating their knowledge. The demonstration of competencies is reassuring to employers and can be used as evidence of robust clinical quality assurance, in minimising clinical incidents as well as preventing never events. CDEP also make staff aware of the gaps in their knowledge and this is reflected in the improvement in self-reported competency levels and familiarity with diabetes guidelines.

CDEP’s resource library is designed to support the user undertake the competencies and can be accessed prior to, during or following an assessment series. However, we have discovered that healthcare professionals are also using this library as a portal to access resources during clinics to support clinical activity.

A quote from a practice nurse working in diabetes

“It has been apparent for some years that the depth of knowledge has been varied among healthcare professionals, which can be detrimental to patient care. It also has been difficult to access up to date information and guidelines, which again has an impact on the care delivered.

“On accessing CDEP I have found that I became more confident in delivering diabetes care within both my practice and teaching student nurses and registrars. The resources are second to none and as you are able to access the most up to date research, which has helped broaden my knowledge, and sign post patients to resources that they would find helpful in self-management.

“Using CDEP has been invaluable as a teaching resource as you are able to do as much or as little as time allows, allowing you to access it around work or family commitments. All the nurses in my team have accessed CDEP and found it very helpful, not only for diabetic patients, but other patients with chronic disease.

“I feel very strongly that CDEP has had a major positive impact on my fellow health care professionals and on the care, they deliver.”

On average, 14 people successfully complete a CDEP topic every day of the week. From our own research, completion rates of CDEP are far higher compared to face-to-face education delivered by diabetes specialist nurses, due to the convenience of accessing learning at a convenient time to the user.

To date, CDEP has generated over 7,200 individual certificates following the successful completion of a topic. The average evaluation across all topics showed that 99.6% either confirmed (13.6%) or improved (86% their diabetes competency, confidence or guideline familiarity.

CDEP offers commissioners a unique online reporting portal to view aggregate data regarding the uptake and utilisation of CDEP within their staffing cohort so they can monitor the impact of CDEP, as well as focus diabetes education strategies to support local face-to-face training initiatives and clinical incentives to drive improved diabetes outcomes.

CDEP was designed and piloted by a multi-disciplinary diabetes specialist team consisting of nurses, dietitians, podiatrists, healthcare assistants, general practitioners and diabetologists. Prior to launch, each new topic is robustly tested by the core CDEP clinical team, external experts in the field as well as the target audience to ensure that the topic is fit for purpose. CDEP undertakes a regular review of all the content to ensure it is up-to-date. User feedback is routinely monitored and actioned as appropriate to enrich the platform.

CDEP has a mobile responsive website, which offers a high quality user experience on a computer, tablet or smartphone. CDEP offers timely support to users and commissioners via email, telephone and teleconferences.

If you wish to find out more about CDEP or have a live demonstration of the online diabetes e-learning tool, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note: this is a commercial profile


Candice Ward

Lead CDEP Educator

Cambridge Diabetes Education

Programme (CDEP)


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