The UK’s National Health Service is getting ready to make its wearable tech and health management plans a reality. The Diabetes Digital Coach project, which involves giving wearable sensors to patients to use at home, is set to go live in the West of England (Bath, Bristol and the surrounding areas).
The project has been greenlit as one of seven NHS Innovation Test Beds as part of a three year, £40 million scheme by the UK government to bring the Internet of Things into healthcare.
Read this: NHS to introduce wearables for patients
People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes will be able to manage their condition at home with both mobile and wearable sensors and software, presumably a beginner-friendly app. And there’s also a coaching element to the project, as the name suggests. If the trial is successful, the NHS could roll it out to the rest of the UK.
We don’t know what sort of wearables will be used, what metrics they will track or an exact date for the start of the pilot yet. HP, Diabetes UK and the West of England’s Academic Health Science Network are involved in providing the tech, designing the health management and tracking and working with patients to give them input into the final system.
The future of healthcare?
The NHS’ original report highlighted that more than one in five diabetes sufferers experience a “largely avoidable” hypoglycaemic episode while in hospital.
“Over the next decade major health gains won’t just come from a few ‘miracle cures’, but also from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications, and AI computing,” said NHS chief executive Simon Stevens at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“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.”
Back in September, a KPMG survey found that 74% of British people would be willing to share their health and fitness data with their GP which suggests the NHS could be onto something.
The six remaining Test Beds will take place in areas around the UK and target other long term health problems including mental health conditions with wearable and IoT tech. These were all confirmed in December 2015, so look out for more information on these over the next year.