Wales launches first Lipo app
An app to help people with diabetes check for Lipos has been developed by healthcare professionals in Wales.
A team of leading healthcare workers from across Wales have joined with academic staff at Swansea University Diabetes Research Group and MSc Diabetes Practice programme to create the DiabetesClinic@Home app to improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes.
The collaboration has been supported by Eli Lilly and Company under a joint working agreement.
Lipohypertrophy and lipoatrophy are the abnormal distribution of fat under the skin and can be caused by injecting insulin repeatedly into the same area, which is why injection technique and injection site rotation is so important.
Lipos can affect blood glucose levels as insulin injected into a site with a Lipo does not diffuse and so will not have the desired effect on blood glucose levels which may result in hypoglycaemia as well as hyperglycaemia.
A discussion about injection technique and a check of injection sites for Lipos should always form part of a diabetes appointment for a person on insulin therapy. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most face to face appointments were conducted virtually. Some specialist outpatient activity ceased as staff were redeployed to other clinical areas. Therefore, this important clinical assessment was discussed in the diabetes review but a physical examination was not possible and was difficult to explain.
In a bid to overcome this situation, diabetes specialists teamed up to create the DiabetesClinic@Home app.
The team included specialists from Swansea Bay and Betsi Cadwaladar University Health Boards, and academics from Swansea University Medical School’s diabetes research group and MSc Diabetes Practice programme.
The app aims to provide education on the importance of checking injection sites, raises awareness of the potential for lipo’s and what to do if they think they have found a one.
The chair of diabetes and clinical lead at MSc Diabetes Practice Swansea University Medical School, Professor Stephen Bain said: “The switch over to virtual clinics has had some advantages over face-to-face contacts but physical examinations, which form part of the diabetes review, are clearly problematic in this setting.
“We hope that the DiabetesClinic@Home app can overcome one of these issues, allowing people with diabetes to perform a structured assessment of their injection sites.”
Diabetes Clinical Lead and Nurse on the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Julie Lewis said: “Digital applications are now commonplace and we have seen a range of meaningful developments to support self-management of health conditions such as diabetes.
“Lipo’s can easily disrupt glycaemic management for a person with diabetes on insulin therapy, so it is important that injection sites are checked regularly.”
She added: “The DiabetesClinic@Home app offers quick access to information that a person can use easily to check, detect and avoid Lipo’s.”
Think Glucose lead on the Swansea Bay University Health Board, Chris Cottrell said: “This digital app is going to enable people living with diabetes to improve their knowledge on how to examine their injection sites.
“It will empower them to grade their sites so they can have a better idea on how to self manage and when to seek help.”
She added: “This is going to enhance our consultations whether it be virtual or face to face because the information is going to raise awareness of lipos, prevent the potential for lipos and if detected treat appropriately and in a timely way to prevent further complications.”
NHS Collaboration Leader at Lilly, Stephanie Harvey said: “The DiabetesClinic@Home app is an innovative digital solution that empowers people with diabetes to better self-manage their condition, whilst also supporting healthcare professionals to remotely manage patients.
“Lilly UK is proud to have helped the Swansea NHS and University team to bring a great idea to life and create a real benefit for people living with diabetes and the for the NHS.”
To find out more about the app, click here.