The battle against diabetes and obesity goes digital

Hitachi Consulting participating in NHS England Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme

Will a digital approach help to reduce obesity and diabetes?

Hitachi Consulting, in conjunction with Salford Royal Foundation NHS Trust and Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, has been awarded a pilot scheme by NHS England as part of Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – digital stream.

The aim of the national pilot is to establish whether digital technology can help people at risk prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes through behavioural change.

Hitachi’s Smart Digital Diabetes Prevention solution helps people to make a sustained lifestyle change by achieving personalised lifestyle goals.

Participants are provided with an online application accessible via a smartphone, tablet or a desktop computer which supports self-assessment, lifestyle monitoring, and tracking of important factors like weight and BMI.

The personalised lifestyle goals are established with an NHS health advisor who also provides regular advice and coaching throughout the programme based on a model established by the Non-Diabetic Hyperglycaemia (NDH) Care Call team at Salford Royal Foundation NHS Trust.

The results so far suggest that digital prevention can provide an effective means for fighting type 2 diabetes

According to Diabetes.co.uk, the cost of diabetes to the NHS is over £1.5m an hour, or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales; but studies have also shown that the number of people with diabetes has nearly quadrupled since 1980 and prevalence is increasing in low- and middle-income groups.

Research by Public Health England has demonstrated that a 5% reduction in a person’s weight can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and other problems such as cardio-vascular and kidney conditions, as well as limb amputation in more-serious cases.

“Type 2 diabetes is a global societal issue and a major challenge for healthcare systems”, said Paul Watson, vice president of healthcare EMEA at Hitachi Consulting.

“Hitachi has been working in partnership with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Salford CCG since 2012 to create a digitally-enabled prevention programme.

“Our solution uses learnings from both Hitachi’s work on technology-enabled lifestyle change programmes delivered in Japan since 2007 and established clinical practice from our Salford partners.

“A digital approach is key to meeting scalability and cost-effectiveness objectives, but we undertook extensive user research to design an application that was appropriate for the users, some of whom have relatively-low IT literacy.

“The health advisors play an essential role in ensuring the lifestyle change plans are appropriate, safe and personalised to the needs and circumstance of the individual.”

A digital approach is key to meeting scalability and cost-effectiveness objectives,

He added: “The results so far suggest that digital prevention can provide an effective means for fighting type 2 diabetes.

“We are continually developing our solution and have exciting plans for the next 12 months – including integration of wearables and scales, leveraging AI to support coaching and introducing flexible pathways tailored to an individual’s needs.

“We’ve come a long way towards our vision of Prevention 3.0 and hope to improve health outcomes through the interconnection of technology, clinical expertise and social innovation.”

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