Diabetes patients are encouraged to ‘take care of their own health’ using a personalised website that tracks weight, blood sugar and alcohol intake
- Health bosses hope programme will help Type 2 patients monitor their condition
- It is planned to provide more support than the current twice-a-year check-ups
- The personalised health plan encourages people to record their weight, blood sugar, daily steps and alcohol consumption
Diabetes sufferers are being urged to take greater control over their own health using a new online tool.
Health bosses hope the programme will help Type 2 patients monitor their condition far more regularly, and provide more support than the current twice-a-year check-ups.
The personalised health plan encourages people to record their weight, blood sugar, daily steps and alcohol consumption day by day – or as often as they like.
Woman measuring waist of overweight man with tape measure (stock)
The online portal will also offer advice and can include goals for patients to reduce their blood sugar, either for a special occasion or to help cut down their medication.
Trials of the scheme will run in 11 areas, including the South East and south-west London, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire, before being rolled out across England from next year. It has already been found to reduce people’s blood sugar in trials within GP surgeries.
Nearly three million Britons live with Type 2 diabetes, but only around five per cent attend face-to-face courses providing advice on how to live with the condition.
Public health minister Seema Kennedy said: ‘There are millions of people with Type 2 diabetes who are at increased risk of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and ultimately a shorter life.
‘This is preventable and the new online tool being rolled out on the NHS will offer simple advice on diet, exercise and emotional support that could make all the difference.
‘Through our Long Term Plan for the NHS, we want to do more to empower people with easy-to-use digital tools and information to take care of their own health.’ The NHS England portal, which was developed at University College London, also provides patients with information on the uses and side-effects of diabetes medication.
It aims to keep people motivated between nurses’ appointments, which are twice-yearly once the condition is stable.
Patients can also use the online programme to record any changes in their mood.
Man using a Accucheck monitor for Diabetes (stock)
Two in five people with Type 2 diabetes suffer ‘distress’ – including guilt, depression, worry about the future and relationship problems. The portal provides online cognitive behavioural therapy and tips for improving wellbeing.
It can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet or home computer and may in the future allow people to contact their own doctor with questions.
For now, the diabetes management plan which patients draw up with a doctor will be entered into their personal online page so they can refer to it and see how they are getting on.
The plan could be for them to remember to take medicines regularly, lose a certain amount of weight or become healthier for a family wedding.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, the national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England, said: ‘We are living in an increasingly digital age with people managing most aspects of their life online.
‘The rollout of this programme will give people the opportunity to get support for their Type 2 diabetes online too.’