Local businesses to take part in pioneering NHS test bed initiative for self management of diabetes

By Anita Jaynes on 22 February, 2016

Technology company Soupdragon Resources in Chippenham and the Corsham Institute are to be involved in a pioneering initiative to modernise the way care is provided to people with diabetes in the region.

The West of England has been selected as an innovation test bed to help local people with diabetes self-manage their condition in the future. It is one of seven test beds that have been announced by the NHS around the country as part of a major new drive to modernise the delivery of healthcare.

The Diabetes Digital Coach Test Bed, funded by the Department of Health and led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network, will also involve social enterprise SEQUOL based in Swindon and the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Over three years up to 12,000 people with diabetes across the West of England, 10% of the total number who have the condition in the region, will be involved in the project They will use and evaluate a range of technologies that can support self-management of the condition, from wearable sensors to an online app that can monitor insulin levels.  Benefits include providing a real time view of their own data which will enable them to take prompt actions to prevent their condition deteriorating and the opportunity to share their information with healthcare professionals to help shape their advice and support.

Richard Male at the Corsham Institute, said: ““The potential of digital technologies to transform the provision of healthcare, in particular, patient led care for chronic illness is significant. We are delighted to be part of a talented consortium testing and developing the Diabetes Digital Coach Programme. By providing the NHS and our fellow partners with a trusted, secure and agnostic environment to house data and develop consent driven applications, we are helping to create solutions and analytics that add significant value to patients, clinicians and researchers.”

Stephen Sherratt from Soupdragon Resources said: “Soupdragon is a web technology company pioneering an innovative approach to the secure self-management of personal data and we are looking forward to working with the rest of the team in building a patient-centred platform which, we believe, can help redefine how health services are designed and delivered.”

Lars Sundstrom, Director of Enterprise at the West of England AHSN, said: “I am very pleased that we have been chosen as a Test Bed site to pioneer the next generation of connected self-management tools for people to better manage long-term conditions and encourage more timely and appropriate interventions from peers, healthcare professionals, carers and social networks. This is great example of how the NHS and the Department for Health with Innovate UK are leading the way in co-developing the future with patients and leading technology providers for the benefit of all.”

Claire Gordon, South West Regional Manager for the charity Diabetes UK,added: “This is a great project because it will provide patients with joined-up information, allowing them to take control of their diabetes and manage it more appropriately to live well with their diabetes.”

The test-bed is one of just seven across the country, which together will receive £17m from NHS England and the Department of Health. Successful innovations will be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens commented: “Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”

People with diabetes, who may wish to participate in the test bed, can express an interest by sending an email to: enterprise@weahsn.net

Pictured above: Lars Sundstrom, Director of Enterprise at the West of England AHSN