An evaluation of the uptake and efficacy of the DBm-Health app, a mobile app that remotely manages patients with diabetes at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, was recently showcased as part of the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2023. The DBm-Health system, co-developed with Sensyne (now owned by Huma), was funded through the CW+ Grants Programme and supported by CW Innovation.
People with diabetes on insulin require frequent optimisation of insulin doses based on review of their glucose monitoring; traditionally this required multiple time-consuming clinic attendances and was especially challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on phone calls and emails to relay glucose results. The DBm platform was designed to ease these pressures, allowing the uploading of capillary glucose readings (CBG) via a smartphone to a web portal for review by the diabetes team.
The recent study retrospectively evaluated the data of people with sub-optimal glucose control (n=97) who were offered use of the DBm portal at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital from January 2021 to November 2021. It concluded that people do benefit from the platform and that there is no evidence of digital exclusion in the use of the app. However, the team have not identified any predictors of who will most improve using the platform, and therefore cannot conclude whether the improvement is due to the platform or an increase in clinician contact time*. To evaluate the reasons for improvement further, future work will include a patient survey to explore patient experience and patient satisfaction.
Dr Daniel Morganstein, Endocrinologist and Diabetes Specialist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has led the evaluation of DBm-Health and explains: ‘We’re delighted that the DBm-Health app has proven to be successful, radically improving how we manage our patients. This includes reducing the time taken to contact patients by phone or email to review their data, allowing the team to focus on those needing support. Patients can input their blood glucose readings into the app, either directly or via a compatible Bluetooth glucose meter, which is available to almost all people living with diabetes, and we’re really pleased that the study has concluded that there is no digital exclusion among patients. We’re looking forward to evaluating the app further as well as continuing our work on the next stage of the project involving the monitoring of patients at high risk of steroid-induced diabetes’.
The CW+ Grants Programme funded the initial phase of the pilot and has also co-funded Phase Two of the project through RADICAL 2021 with the aim of exploring the role for remote monitoring with DBm-Health to identify and manage those who develop high blood glucose levels during their chemotherapy, where the ability to give personalised support via the DBm-Health app may be particularly welcome.