A pioneering smartphone app is successfully helping women who develop gestational diabetes manage their condition better.
The GDm-Health system has already been tested on 2,000 pregnant women and they found the device improved glucose control and reduced hospital visits by 25 per cent.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that can develop during pregnancy and on average affects 100,000 women in England every year. Controlling the condition is crucial as it can lead to health complications for both mother and baby.
The app was developed in partnership with researchers from the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford, supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
Professor Lionel Tarassenko, head of engineering science at the University of Oxford, said: “We have combined world-class engineering and clinical research with feedback from frontline NHS staff to create products that deliver real benefits to patients.”
Conventional treatment has involved keeping a paper diary to monitor blood sugar levels and attending fortnightly hospital appointments, which NHS staff note can be a cumbersome process for all involved.
Rachel Crowley, diabetes specialist midwife, said: “Previously we would receive an email from the patient, then précis their readings, record those readings manually on paper records and then respond by email to the patient with medication/dose recommendations.
“This was laborious and allowed for transcribing errors. Oxford AHSN adapted the database to our needs so we collect additional info on each patient at delivery and download it at the end of the year for audit purposes. This now takes approximately one day instead of six weeks. We would find it almost impossible to manage without the system now.”
The app allows the woman to track their progress and communicate with their healthcare team without physically attending any appointments unless they need to. Their health data is downloaded from the cable free meter and is securely uploaded to an NHS based server where the clinical team can review the readings.
It was originally piloted in Oxford, but has since been made available at three more NHS trusts and plans are afoot to expand to a larger area across England.
The system has also won two awards, including the best digital Initiative prize at the 2014 Quality in Care Diabetes awards and the Oxford AHSN Best Public-Private Collaboration Award in October 2017.

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