Diabetes digital coach first of other planned IoT projects
HPE Internet of Things (IoT) technology is helping the NHS move to a "citizen-centric" medical information model, led by an innovative diabetes project utilising remote monitoring and health coaching technology.
The scheme was outlined by Lars Sundstrom, director of enterprise at the West of England Academic Health Science Network - a UK network of private and public health partners - speaking at HPE Discover 2016 in Las Vegas today. He described the "huge difference" HPE technology has made in motivating patients to look after some aspects of their own medical care.
"You don't really see us engaging with our patients enough, and we're not giving them the tools to participate themselves," said Sundstrom, speaking of the current situation in an NHS that is stretched in terms of finance and resources.
Sundstrom spoke of "a vast untapped resource" of information from patients themselves, based on their own experiences of their conditions.
"Essentially, it's getting that information back that's critical. And that involves getting people to shape health care programmes. There are massive pressures on costs, and we need to move to a self-management system."
One project being worked on is the Diabetes Digital Coach Test Bed, one of several "test bed" projects being pioneered across the country.
While not yet launched for full public consumption, the Digital Coach combines body sensors with a simple to use mobile app that allows diabetes patients to better manage their condition.
"Hewlett Packard have made a huge difference here - you don't need to pinprick all the time, it's going to transform how we do self-management," said Sundstrom.
"It's also nudging you to do the right thing at the right time, which is incredibly important," said Sunstrom.
Sunstrom said that projects like the Diabetes Digital Coach may be able to save the NHS up to £4,000 per patient, per year.
Generally, he is confident that this approach could become the norm for many other aspects of health care.
"I think we're moving to the citizen-centric model," he said.
"When we're talking about self-care, there are other layers that need to be involved. Friends and family are very important - letting them encourage you to do the right thing is very important.
"Surgery is the biggest traumatic incident you can probably have. We [currently] do nothing to get you fit before an operation, but [technology can enable] us to supply pre-surgery exercises to get people in a better condition. We find [feedback and encouragement from] friends and family are very important there, too."