Leading up to Evidence Live 2016, we will be publishing a series of blog posts highlighting projects, initiatives and innovative ideas from future leaders in evidence based medicine.
Please read on for the second in the series from Dr Shoba Poduval at UCL.
If you are interested in submitting a blog post, please contact email@example.com. Stay tuned!
People with long term conditions spend less than 1% of their time with healthcare professionals. Self-management is increasingly being recognised as playing an important role in improving health outcomes (1). In order to help people to acquire skills in self-management, appropriate support and education needs to be provided. We need to find innovative ways of giving people evidence-based self-management support and information that they can access outside of the consulting room, and use to live longer healthier lives.
Over 84% of people in the UK have home internet access (2) and more and more people are going online to access health information. The 2014 NHS Five Year Forward View (3) acknowledges the “digital revolution” by setting out a strategy to integrate digital technology within healthcare, and since then significant investment has been made in electronic information systems within the NHS (4). Digital interventions could play a crucial part in providing self-management support for patients with long term conditions. They offer the possibility of interactive personalised support which is available to patients at a time and place of their choosing. Alongside face-to-face interaction with healthcare practitioners, digital interventions provide a cost-effective additional method of providing patients with the support and information that they need.
Our team at UCL have seized the opportunity to use technology to provide patients with evidence-based health information by developing an online self-management program for people living with Type 2 Diabetes. The program (Healthy Living for People with Type 2 Diabetes, or HeLP-Diabetes) was developed in collaboration with patients, healthcare professionals, academics and software specialists and is based on theory from research on long term condition management. The program provides information in simple language and pictures, as well as videos featuring messages from people living with diabetes.
We have learnt from initial studies that newly diagnosed patients need a structured format of self-management information, and this has led to the development of a new subset of the program, HeLP-Diabetes: Starting Out. The structured program consists of a pathway with 4 weekly sessions following a spiral curriculum, and includes quizzes with personalised feedback and goal-setting tasks. I am currently collecting data from a pilot study of the structured pathway and will be reporting my results later this year. The aim is for the results to be used to optimise the program and for further research to be done on the feasibility of a randomised-controlled trial of the program.
We would like HeLP-Diabetes to be accessible to people living with diabetes all over the UK. We are using our research to work out how to successfully implement the program within current services in primary care. We envision a future where patients have better access to evidence-based health information, and are empowered to feel confident and knowledgeable about managing their health.