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Education app set to shake up type 2 treatment

By Editor
5th April 2017
Education, Self management Technology

Thousands of people across England with type 2 diabetes will become the first to be given access to a ground-breaking digital tool to help them make lifestyle changes and live healthier lives.

Now GPs in parts of London, Birmingham and Manchester will be able to ‘‘refer’ patients diagnosed with the condition to an app which is scientifically proven to help people improve their condition by eating less and moving more.

Changing Health, which was developed by a team at Newcastle University, enrols the participant onto a 12-month online education and personalised telephone coaching programme.

It was created after research conducted, by the university and the Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust, discovered the precise combination of information and coaching support would help improve a person’s health with type 2 diabetes significantly.

The app shows how to achieve a sustainable change in behaviour, using evidence-based techniques. The programme – which can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or desktop –  is the only digital tool which offers people access to diabetes education, alongside regular access to a specially trained personal coach.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Waltham Forest, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, South Manchester and the Modality Vanguard in the West Midlands have agreed to work with GPs and other local NHS providers to make the programme available to local patients in the hope they will improve their health.

It is hoped by adopting this radical new approach that they may also be able to reduce the costs that diabetes-related complications rack up.

Changing Health CEO John Grumitt, who is also vice president of Diabetes UK and former vp of the International Diabetes Federation, said: “Diabetes is a real challenge to those with the condition and places a huge burden on the NHS financially.

“It’s prevalence is now three times higher than all cancers combined, and accounts for 10 per cent (£11.6bn) of the annual NHS budget. A full 80 per cent of those costs are attributed to treating largely avoidable complications. Public Health England estimate there are over three million people with diabetes in this country. An increase of over 40 per cent to over five million is predicted in less than 10 years by 2025.”

Professor Mike Trenell, who led the research and helped develop the app, said: “It doesn’t have to be this way. Our research shows that many people living with type 2 diabetes, if given the right advice, tools and support, can live healthy lives free from complications such as kidney disease or even strokes linked to the condition. In some cases it is even possible to reverse their diagnosis. Just as importantly, they feel better and have more energy too.

“Last year’s National Diabetes Audit found that only 5.3 per cent of people attended education. By making evidence-based education available online, accessible when and where patients want, together with a personalised coach providing on-going supported self- management, we will enable people to lead healthier and happier lives.”

Changing Health is the only treatment to be made available that combines evidence-based structured online education from NICE approved X-PERT Health’s Diabetes programme online, which has helped over 250,000 people to achieve improved health since it was launched by Dr Trudi Deakin in 2005.

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