By Carolyn Wickware
Healthcare providers across five CCGs can now refer patients with diabetes to an app that aims to help them manage their own condition.
The app, ‘Changing Health’, shows patients with type 2 diabetes how they can sustain a healthier lifestyle by putting them on a yearlong online education and personalised coaching programme conducted over the phone.
The programme was developed at Newcastle University with research from Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust, which found that patients who lose weight and become more physically active, are able to reverse the disease with access to the right lifestyle information.
NHS South Manchester, Waltham Forest, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham as well as the Modality multispecialty community provider in Birmingham will work with GPs and other providers to make the programme available to patients.
A spokesperson for NHS Waltham Forest CCG said type 2 diabetes is ‘one of London’s biggest health challenges’ that can be prevented through lifestyle changes.
He added: ‘We are pleased to be part of this project. It’s great news that those who are at risk will have the opportunity to make positive, healthier changes to their lifestyles.’
John Grumitt, vice president of Diabetes UK and CEO of Changing Health, said the prevalence of diabetes is three times higher than all cancers combined, and accounts for £11.6bn of the annual NHS budget.
He added: ‘A full 80% of those costs are attributed to treating largely avoidable complications’.
According to Public Health England data more than three million people have diabetes in the UK, which will increase to five million by 2025.
Professor Mike Trenell, the lead researcher for the app at Newcastle University, said: ‘Last year’s National Diabetes Audit found that only 5.3% of people attended education.’
He added that ‘given the right advice’ people with diabetes can live without complications to their illness and ‘it is even possible to reverse their diagnosis’.
He said: ‘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.’