A new app available on the NHS will help people with type 2 diabetes make positive lifestyle changes for healthier living.
People with type 2 diabetes across England will now be able to get useful tips on how to manage the condition with the help of a new app, available on mobile phones and tablet devices.
The ‘Changing Health’ app has been designed by a specialist team at Newcastle University, to promote healthy lifestyle changes and enrols people with type 2 diabetes on a unique 12-month online education and personalised telephone coaching programme.
The app is being launched in parts of London, Birmingham and Manchester, where GPs will be able to ‘refer’ people diagnosed with the condition to the app which is scientifically proven to help people improve their health by eating less and moving more.
The annual cost to the NHS of diabetes-related complications is estimated to be £8 billion and healthcare professionals hoped the new app could be available to help thousands of people improve their health and reduce the impact on themselves and their families.
Researchers from Newcastle University and Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust developed the app in response to the results of their study that found people who lost weight and became more physically active could further reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes, or even reverse the condition, if they had access to the right lifestyle information and coaching support.
The Newcastle academic team, led by Professor Mike Trenell, developed the programme after their research pinpointed the precise combination of information and coaching support needed to ensure patients improved their health.
The Changing Health app shows how to achieve a sustainable change in behaviour, using evidence-based techniques, by offering people with type 2 diabetes access to education about the condition alongside regular access to a specially trained personal coach.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Waltham Forest, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, South Manchester and the Modality Vanguard in the West Midlands have agreed to work with GPs and other local NHS providers to make the programme available to local patients in the hope they will improve their health.
Changing Health CEO John Grumitt, who is also Vice President of Diabetes UK and former Vice President of the International Diabetes Federation, said: “Diabetes is a real challenge to those with the condition and places a huge burden on the NHS financially. Its prevalence is now three times higher than all cancers combined, and accounts for 10% (£11.6 billion) of the annual NHS budget. A full 80% of those costs are attributed to treating largely avoidable complications. Public Health England estimate there are more than 3 million people with diabetes in this country. An increase of over 40% to more than 5 million is predicted in less than 10 years by 2025.”
Professor Trenell said: “It doesn’t have to be this way. Our research shows that many people living with type 2 diabetes, if given the right advice, tools and support, can live healthy lives free from complications such as kidney disease or even strokes linked to the condition. In some cases it is even possible to reverse their diagnosis. Just as importantly, they feel better and have more energy too.
“Last year’s National Diabetes Audit found that only 5.3% of people attended education. 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.”
The Changing Health app combines evidence-based structured education from the NICE approved X-PERT Health Diabetes programme online, will be available in a digital format and in seven languages.
DRWF host an annual programme of Diabetes Wellness Events which are focused on providing access to relevant, evidence-based information to support people with diabetes in their self-management of the condition. See our programme of events for 2017 here.
Read the DRWF leaflets A healthy diet and diabetes and Exercise and diabetes here.