NHS set to ‘modernise’ diabetes care

By Editor
22nd January 2016
Good practice, Latest news South West Technology

People with diabetes will be among the first to benefit from a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care.

NHS England has teamed up with several leading technology companies to launch the first wave of the NHS Innovation Test Beds programme.

There will be seven Test Beds across the UK and each one will use a different combination of innovations, from both large and small organisations, to address a locally-identified clinical challenge.

‘Practical benefits’

The Diabetes Digital Coach is a project led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) in partnership with Diabetes UK and technology companies including Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Simon Stevens

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos

He said: “Over the next decade major health gains won’t just come from a few ‘miracle cures’, but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications, and AI computing.

“Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”

Lars Sundstrom, director of enterprise at the West of England AHSN, said: “I am really delighted that we have been chosen as an Internet of Things Test Bed site to pioneer the next generation of connected self-management tools for people to better manage long-term conditions.

“This is great example of how the NHS and the Department for Health with Innovate UK are leading the way in co-developing the future with patients and leading technology providers for the benefit of all.”

Appropriate interventions

The pilot will bring together mobile health self-management tools, such as wearable sensors and supporting software, with the latest developments in connecting monitoring devices.

The Test Bed will “enable people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes to do the right thing at the right time to self-manage their condition”.

Sandra Tweddell from Bristol has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1961. She is also coordinator of the Bristol Diabetes Support Network and has been involved in the design of the Diabetes Digital Coach programme.

Sandra said: “I am so excited by the news about Diabetes Digital Coach being announced as an NHS Test Bed. In the absence of a cure for diabetes, technology offers a way of giving immediate information about your diabetes control so you can manage it better and prevent or delay the complications that can go with the condition.

“Technology can be used to enable true partnership between the GP, consultant or practice nurse and the person with diabetes. Diabetes Digital Coach is a really exciting initiative as, if successful, it will enable more people to better manage their diabetes, hopefully reducing the awful complications that go with the condition.”

It will also encourage more “timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks”.

The other Test Beds will take place in North East London, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, Lancashire and Cumbria, Sheffield, Surrey and Birmingham and Solihull, targetting other long term conditions and mental health problems.

The IoT Test Beds are part of IoTUK, an integrated £40 million, three-year Government programme that seeks to advance the UK’s global leadership in IoT and increase the adoption of high quality IoT technologies and services throughout businesses and the public sector.

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