People with diabetes in Somerset are benefiting from a pioneering new online system to help them manage their condition more effectively.
Somerset is the first area in England to offer “MyDiabetesMyWay”, an award-winning interactive service which has been running in Scotland since 2008.
Available as a free website and app, it provides a wealth of up-to-date diabetes information, including leaflets, videos and games. Users also have the opportunity to access their own medical data, such as blood test results and blood pressure readings, clinic letters and their treatment plan.
So far more than 2,700 people in the county have signed up.
Martin Draper, 60, from Bridgwater is one of them. Since a virus 15 years ago left him with Type 1 diabetes and depending on insulin to stay alive, he has worked hard to keep his blood glucose levels down and remain healthy.
Martin, who is a keen marathon runner, said, “Diabetes is a lifetime project. You have to work at it every day. You have to have good blood glucose control in order to live the life you want.”
So when a trial of MyDiabetesMyWay started, the former IT executive jumped at the chance to register.
He said, “It worked perfectly. There’s a lot of data there. My GP has signed up to the service and all my stats are in one place. I can see how my BMI, blood pressure and weight, for example, have changed over the years. There’s also a lot of useful information. For example, you might be directed to the Diabetes UK website if you want to find out more about maintaining a healthy weight.”
“MyDiabetesMyWay definitely has a place in my armoury against diabetes.”
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications, including lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
Dr Alex Bickerton, consultant in diabetes, endocrinology and general medicine at Yeovil District Hospital and Diabetes UK Clinical Champion, is heading the team which is introducing MyDiabetesMyWay to Somerset.
He said, “There are around 30,000 people with diabetes in Somerset. We have had fantastic feedback from people who are using the digital platform already and know that many more could benefit. It’s free, secure and easy to use. Most important of all, it will help people stay on top of their own condition.”
“There is evidence from Scotland that users feel better able to manage their own diabetes, make better use of their interaction with clinicians and show improvements in their overall health. Knowledge is power, and in the case of MyDiabetesMyWay, that knowledge could be life-changing.”
Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK South West Regional Head, said: “On average, people with diabetes only spend three hours a year with a healthcare professional, so MyDiabetesMyWay is an incredibly useful self-management tool. Effectively managing blood pressure, blood glucose levels and cholesterol is known to be the best way of preventing diabetes-related complications.”
“If patients can easily access this data and their care plan themselves, they will reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications. We would urge all people with diabetes and their family and carers in Somerset to register.”
“For users to access their medical data, the scheme also requires GPs to join. So we would encourage the handful of GPs who haven’t yet signed up to this innovative resource to do so as soon as possible.”
To register with My Diabetes My Way, go to https://somerset.mydiabetes.com. The free app is available through iOS and Android app stores.
Diabetes UK offers a range of support for people living with diabetes and their families, including a diabetes education digital platform, Learning Zone. Go to www.diabetes.org.uk to find out more.