‘My Diabetes My Way’, which was developed by the University of Dundee, has been made available to thousands of people with diabetes in Somerset CCG. The digital platform was granted NHS funding earlier this year via the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare scheme, which provides practical support and investment for new technologies that could help improve patient care and increase efficiency.
My Diabetes My Way aims to improve patients' day-to-day management of diabetes by offering advice and information about managing blood glucose levels, eating sensibly and staying well. The website and app also offers registered patients secure access to their own personal medical records and enables them to set and monitor goals to support lifestyle change.
The system has been running in NHS Scotland since 2008, but this is the first time it has been set up in England. Evaluation of the platform in Scotland has shown better self-management skills in people with diabetes using the site and improved outcomes for patients.
Somerset CCG hopes to sign up 3,000 people to the pilot scheme between now and October 2018 in GP surgeries and local hospitals. Patients are also be able to register for the service themselves.
Dr Henk Bruggers, a Mendip GP and diabetes lead for Somerset CCG, said: ‘Somerset is seeing alarming rise in the numbers of people now being diagnosed with diabetes each year. Diabetes is a serious condition which can be brought into remission (especially in the early stages) or its progression can be slowed down by lifestyle changes. Self-management of diabetes is vital and this requires the right information and the necessary motivation.
‘A local survey of patients showed people really want to access online information about their diabetes, so they can improve their knowledge, receive reminders for medication and communicate with health professionals. The possibilities of this new digital approach to managing diabetes are enormous and Somerset has an opportunity to test a system which could transform the lives of four million people living in Britain with diabetes.’
In Somerset, 90% of more than 30,000 people living with the condition have type 2 diabetes. If nothing is done, it is estimated that the number of people with the condition across the county will rise to 53,000 by 2030.
Dr Alex Bickerton, a consultant in diabetes at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘This exciting pilot scheme in Somerset is leading the way in the development of a new and potentially revolutionary way to help people with diabetes manage their health. This will be the first time patients with diabetes will be able to register and securely access their own medical records. The support and system is completely free to users and this is just the start.’