Diabetes digital coach

The West of England Heath Innovation Network is the lead organisation for the Diabetes Digital Coach Test Bed, which was an innovative partnership programme between:

  • Corsham Institute
  • Diabetes UK
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
  • Ki Performance
  • LeLan/SocialDiabetes
  • Mapmyhealth
  • Oviva
  • Rescon
  • ROutcomes
  • Soupdragon Resources
  • HEOR

This project came to an end on 31 July 2018.

Various member organisations within the West of England Heath Innovation Network played a significant role in testing the digital platforms in a ‘real world setting’. These were:

  • All seven CCGs in our area (Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire)
  • Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
  • North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Sirona Care and Health
  • Bristol Community Health

In 2013, almost 2.9 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, and incidence rates are increasing, with more than 1 in 20 people estimated to have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes. Necessary lifestyle changes, as well as the complexities and possible side effects of therapy, make patient education and self-management important aspects of diabetes care. Indeed, 99% of diabetes care falls to self-management.

Our collective vision for Diabetes Digital Coach was to ‘enable every citizen to self-care in their own way to the benefit of their health, both physical and mental.’ This Test Bed gave the opportunity for healthcare commissioners, hospitals and community providers to work with a number of companies with self-management products already on the market in order to experiment with and evaluate different innovative approaches and technologies.

Bringing together mobile health self-management tools (wearable sensors and supporting software) with the latest developments in connecting monitoring devices (Internet of Things), the Test Bed enabled people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes to ‘do the right thing at the right time’ to self-manage their condition. It also encouraged more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks.

The benefits realised were at three key levels:

  • Individuals with diabetes gained a comprehensive, real-time view of their own data, which informed their self-management strategies and uncovered hidden patterns, trends and relationships that were not considered through conventional treatments options. This enabled them to take prompt actions to prevent their condition deteriorating.
  • Individuals could share this information and knowledge with relevant healthcare professionals, who were then better be able to prioritise the needs of patients on their caseload and offer appropriate support and advice.
  • The project subsequently intended to aggregate data, information and knowledge to gain a real-time (as opposed to historic) and population-wide view of the health status of people with diabetes to nudge and promote behaviours to improve health.