A pilot technology project is helping people with diabetes and other health conditions to better their health, it has been revealed.
The Widening Digital Participation (WDP) programme is one of two pilots which have been running in Sheffield and Islingto, North London in a bid to help people control long-term health conditions better.
Launched by NHS Digital, WDP was developed to help thousands of people across the UK to boost their digital health skills.
In Sheffield, people with diabetes and asthma were encouraged to use digital tools, such as Diabetes.co.uk, to empower users to take over their own health management.
One case study, Simon Harris, was advised by his GP to start using Diabetes.co.uk so he could learn how to lose weight and manage his diabetes better.
Doctors referred their patients to non-clinical support where their needs were reviewed. They were then introduced to various online tools, complete with digital skill training where needed.
Nicola Gill, WDP programme director at NHS Digital, said: “We are very pleased with the outcomes of the first two pathfinders, which have been successful in helping excluded and vulnerable people to take control of their healthcare by providing them with the skills to access digital health information and services.
“We’ve learned a lot from these first pathfinders and we are going to look in-depth at the evaluation to see how the lessons learned can be used to support even more people and ensure digital inclusion is embedded across the NHS.”
The programme was launched in collaboration with an organisation called Good Things Foundation.
Helen Milner, CEO of the foundatio, said: “Digital has a powerful potential to reduce inequalities, help people to better manage health conditions and prevent illness. For this to happen, it’s crucial we are tailoring our approaches to the most excluded – which means focusing on the people and how digital can meet their needs, rather than looking for high-tech solutions.
“The findings from these two pathfinders, and those to follow, will help us to work with the NHS to shape policy and practice in this area, and ensure digital health really reaches those who can most benefit.”

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