The challenge

35,000 children and young people (CYP) in the UK live with life-threatening autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) or other forms of diabetes. Prevalence is increasing 5-10% each year with an increase in prevalence linked to Covid-19. Diabetes requires ongoing 24/7 care with each young person requiring a potential emergency hospital admission per year at a total annual cost to the NHS of £140 million. 70% of CYP with T1D experience poor health outcomes (NPDA) with prevalence higher from deprived or from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Current care models are inadequate, outdated, and expensive; relying on 1:1 care and siloed data. DigiBete’s motivation is to drive a more equitable and accessible solution for young people’s diabetes management, reducing the burden on patients, Health Care Professionals (HCPs) and NHS resources.

Patients & families need personalised, ‘wrap-around-care’ and more frequent communication to embed good care habits and to support self-management decisions. Families need clinical advice, 24/7 and a place to store and share their diabetes care record

Similarly, healthcare professionals need a system enabling continuous communication, education, and the ability to arrange virtual appointments between clinic appointments.

The solution

DigiBete’s existing educational app is a patient companion to support self-management and complement care delivery. It is the only community-led yet clinically approved diabetes resource ever to be centrally commissioned by NHS England. DigiBete is also assisting NHS England to develop the new diabetes care record standards and working with them on other diabetes related projects.

Additionally, it is a practical, personalisable clinic tool to help healthcare professionals better support their patients.

Improving outcomes for patients of all socio-economic backgrounds is a key objective for DigiBete who have co-designed their resources with families, ensuring the inclusion of under-represented groups. The current DigiBete app is already used by 100% of patients in some of the most deprived areas nationally (eg. Bradford, Leeds and Salford).

Building on NHS England’s digital transformation agenda, there is an opportunity and need to develop the DigiBete platform to consolidate systems and centralise data; embedding innovation into the redesign of traditional diabetes care pathways. This would immediately benefit the 60% of T1D families nationally who are already engaged with DigiBete by providing better support for remote monitoring; improved access to clinical contact; empowering patients to better self-manage; and delivering efficiencies and cost savings into the NHS.

It really is a one stop shop and much needed virtual platform for young people and their families managing diabetes.

Leigh-Anne, mum to a child with type 1 diabetes

The impact

Within 2 years of introduction:

  • 300+ digital resources available on platform & app
  • 190 clinics onboarded (including Young Adult Clinics) and 1,250 healthcare professionals registered on their own DigiBete clinic portal
  • 60% of patient cohort in England & Wales registered and using the DigiBete app
  • Estimated cost and efficiency savings of up to £10,000 per clinic from postage/administration alone, due to unlimited, targeted communications
  • Consistently positive feedback from users, both patients and clinicians, with 96% of HCP saying they would recommend DigiBete