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Digital plans of care can improve health outcomes for type 2 diabetes patients

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Research conducted as part of UKRIs digital health technology catalyst sponsored by Healum Ltd in partnership with Vernova Healthcare CIC, indicates that the use of Healum’s mobile app, connected to its care planning software and patient management system for healthcare professionals in primary care, has helped to improve health outcomes for people living with type 2 diabetes.

The Healum care planning software and patient facing app enables multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals working in primary care settings to create a personalised digital care plan and support with patients that have type 2 diabetes.

The care plan connects people with supportive resources, education and local services, aiding them to manage their diabetes in a personalised way.

This technology has been trialled across 15 GP practices in Eastern Cheshire under the Vernova Healthcare CIC over the past 18 months, as part of a UKRI funded randomised control study that has been designed to incorporate the NICE Evidence Standards Framework for Digital Technologies.

The interim results reveal that patients who received a digital plan of care had better outcomes than those who didn’t.

On average, patients who used the digital version were able to lower their blood glucose levels (Hb1Ac) by an average of 9.5 per cent, compared with a reduction of 2 per cent for those who did not.

Patients with a digital care plan also saw a decrease in their BMI from 30.1kg/m2 to 30.0kg/m2. For patients without the intervention, BMI increased by 0.09 per cent.

Alongside these results, the study has also revealed that using the Healum app is having a positive impact on patients engaging in their care, and provides motivation for people to manage their diabetes.

More than 150 personalised care plans have been made, each with unique interventions for individual patients.

The ultimate aim of the personalised care and support planning solution is to support Primary Care Networks in managing the delivery of routine care to patients with diabetes and other long term conditions in a way that enables patients to get the most out of their primary care services and to improve their health outcomes in whatever way matters to them.

The Healum software integrates with the EMIS electronic patient record, which means healthcare professionals are able to easily collaborate to create each patient’s personalised plan of care and support.

Dr. Adrian Heald, Consultant Physician in Diabetes and Endocrinology, and Chief Investigator on the study, said:

“A key challenge in long-term condition management is to motivate and support patients to make healthy choices and understand how to best manage their diabetes in a way that means something to them.

“It is important that when we aid our frontline teams with digital care and support planning software and patient facing apps that we have thoroughly investigated their usage and impact in a way that looks at both the health outcomes, how the technology can be used to improve the pathway of care and how it enhances the experience of the patient and the healthcare professional.”

The NIHR played a crucial role in supporting the team to devise and deliver this study at all stages of the journey.

Jonathan Abraham, Chief Executive Officer, Healum, said:

“We wanted to enable healthcare professionals to provide personalised care and support to people living with type 2 diabetes, and it has been great to see the positive impact it has had on health outcomes at this stage of the study.

“We have placed a lot of value in evaluating the efficacy of our software and apps in improving care.

“We are grateful for all the support that Vernova CIC and the NIHR have provided in enabling us to sponsor this research.

“We look forward to the communicating the remainder of the results amongst the academic and clinical community that have a special interest in type 2 diabetes.”

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