A new joint project from the National Health Service, local medical clinics and private technology firms is looking to redefine how South Londoners with Type 2 diabetes contend with their condition.
The 2019 ‘You & Type 2’ initiative blends private and personalised health care with technology-based solutions to give individuals living with Type 2 diabetes a more effective way to manage their lives and keep healthier. Indeed, the project is a response to skyrocketing diabetes rates and an increasing strain on the NHS and health providers attempting to treat new and existing patients.
The service offers personalised health content and services via users’ smartphones, with texted video links that quickly and easily offer individualised, relevant and valuable information to patients. Although the project is for now focused exclusively on South London, its potential, if successful, could be significant for the broader UK.
A Rising Epidemic
The UK has a serious diabetes problem, with shocking numbers of the population—and a wide range of age groups—now living with some form of the condition.
According to Diabetes UK, there are currently 4.7 million people in the country with diabetes, with the number expected to reach 5.5 million by 2030. 90% of these individuals have been diagnosed with Type 2, and the problem affects all ages. One in ten people over 40 have Type 2 diabetes, while a 2018 report noted that nearly 7,000 children and young adults live with the condition.
The NHS foresaw the spike in diabetes coming as early as 2012, and it has already caused serious problems. The ‘Making Hospitals Safe for People With Diabetes’ report, released in 2018, showed that over 260,000 people with diabetes experienced errors in prescriptions, insulin management, and even potentially life-threatening mistakes.
What’s more, current care pathways have limited efficiency, with one report showing that of those people diagnosed with diabetes in 2015 who were offered structured education programmes, (76.6% of those with Type 2 diagnoses), only 7.1% attended. The results of this negligence are high incidences of diabetic complications, especially among those most at risk.
Novel Treatment Pathways
To help alleviate the strain on the health economy, as well as to provide better treatment outcomes for patients, the NHS has launched You & Type 2 in collaboration with private sector firms, including health care providers and tech companies.
The service aims to make it easier for those living with Type 2 diabetes to manage their daily lives and their conditions, so they can enjoy a better quality of life and improve their health outcomes.
The initiative, which is being co-headed by Citizen Communications, provides customised care planning services for users in South London that encourages them to engage with their healthcare more effectively. Some 20,000 patients are receiving links to videos via secure text messages from their general practitioners, and the video clips include personalised recaps of their latest lab tests along with dynamic care plans that adapt to their circumstances and health status.
The project’s video needs—a central part of the You & Type 2 experience—are being handled by Idomoo, a Video-as-a-Service (PVaaS) platform which renders the personalised videos themselves in bulk, at best-in-class speeds. Each message includes real data from patients’ files, including test results, key health indicators, and steps to take at every phase of their treatment.
Here’s an example of how the videos look:
Additionally, the You & Type 2 web portal includes several features designed to help inform and support subscribers through their health journey. Patients will be able to receive personalised tips about local services, as well as view apps that can aid them improve their health and lifestyle to deal with diabetes more effectively.
Subscribers also have access to phone support that can point them to the right services and tools to improve their quality of life.
Improving Treatment for Better Outcomes
You & Type 2 seeks to get individuals to engage more actively with their healthcare by playing a role in their own treatment plan. The project’s aims include creating better outcomes for subscribers and reducing the strain on the health economy. The service is also founded on current treatment paradigms, including Behavioural Insight and reinforcement.
Indeed, Type 2 diabetes is a pressing concern both for patients and their health providers. Poor outcomes and increased risks lead to a worse quality of life and can also increase mortality risks at any age. For the health economy, this means more hours spent treating patients, fewer resources available, and greater strain on existing infrastructure.By finding novel solutions to treatment and providing accessible, personalised care, the NHS may have found a way to down two birds with one stone.