NHS turns to digital to improve diabetes prevention rates

World Diabetes Day sees NHS England turn to digital technology to improve diabetes prevention.

[London, UK] A new initiative launched by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK will see five tech companies test their digital products to improve rates of diabetes prevention across the country.

The new programme, similar to last year’s Healthier You: The NHS Diabetes Prevention programme, will offer support and guidance through digital means.  

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes, said the initiative can help extend the reach of the diabetes prevention scheme.

With the trial launching this month, more than 5,000 people across eight different areas will start using a variety of apps and other innovative digital products to monitor their health and spot signs of deterioration. 

Duncan Selbie, Public Health England Chief Executive, said the switch to digital is the ‘logical next step in diabetes prevention’.

Patients will get access to digital tools for a period of up to 12 months.

These include OurPath, a programme running for six weeks, with a mobile and desktop version, offering support for sleep, exercise, diet and stress management. Users finishing the initial stage will then move on to the ‘Sustain’ phase.

Figures published by Public Health England indicated that 3.8 million people over the age of 16 were living with both types of diabetes in England in 2015, with 90% of cases Type 2, which can largely be prevented through lifestyle changes.

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “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 new programme is the latest example of how the NHS is now getting practical and getting serious about new ways of supporting people stay healthy.”

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