NHS backs innovative means of cutting diabetes risk

pharmafile | November 15, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development NHS, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

It was World Diabetes Day yesterday and the NHS announced a new tech initiative to help those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It was revealed that more than 5,000 people will be enrolled to test apps tracking physical activity and other health data.

The pilot will involve patients in eight areas of England and five companies will provide their devices to be used as part of the trial. The devices range from wristbands that provide feedback to mobile devices to a six-week mobile and desktop digital programme to aid in healthy eating and measuring of sleep.

The principle aim is to determine whether such digital interventions can provide a low-cost means of preventing high-risk patients from developing type 2 diabetes. The ability to manage lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise and sleep, through the use of devices would be far more cost-effective for the NHS in the long-term, negating the need to supply patients with expensive medication and glucose monitoring devices.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England, says: “This breaks new ground to help those at risk of type 2 diabetes quite literally take their health into their own hands. Many of us use on-the-go digital technology every day and this is a logical next step in diabetes prevention.”

While Simon Stevens, the CEO of NHS England, commented: “So much else in our lives is now about online social connection and support, and that now needs to be true too for the modern NHS. This is the latest example of how the NHS is getting practical and serious about supporting people to stay healthy”.

The scheme is designed to complement the existing NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which was launched last year to provide support to those who are risk of diabetes or are living with the condition.

There is still much to be done in preventing diabetes, perhaps exemplified by Krispy Kreme marking World Diabetes Day by providing 36,000 free doughnuts to people based in London.

Ben Hargreaves

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