Up to 9,000 diabetic patients in New Territories East are now getting more help in monitoring their health under a newly launched Hospital Authority initiative. The programme offers risk assessment, electronic records and a platform for patients to share experiences. It seeks to combine efforts by doctors, nurses, and patients and their families to provide more comprehensive treatment and care. For example, each patient gets a copy of their assessment result after visiting the doctor, showing how likely they are to be affected by diabetic complications, such as coronary heart disease, renal failure or strokes, in the next five years. 'In such a way, patients will have a clear idea about their own situations and hopefully take proper measures to take better care of themselves,' Dr Fung Hong, chief executive of New Territories East Cluster, said. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the city, with one in 10 people afflicted. Fung said only 40 per cent of diabetic patients in New Territories East took good care of their blood sugar, blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, the major markers of their health. With the help of Chinese University, the authority will use an online platform to collect relevant information about patients and the treatments they have received. The records could then be checked by doctors. Diabetic patients need to see a doctor every three months. This will be combined with a risk-assessment and management programme that rates patients' chances of developing complications. Under another effort, called the Pearl programme, patients will be encouraged to share their experiences in dealing with the illness, while nurses will provide guidance to high-risk patients. It is estimated the programme will benefit 8,000 to 9,000 of the 44,000 diabetic patients receiving treatment in the area. 'We are confident that more patients will see their situations improve after joining our programmes,' Fung said. The authority would explore the possibility of applying the methods to other chronic diseases.