Diabetes patient education support system wins Innovation Award

25 October, 2012

A new website, developed by MyKnowledgeMap as part of an NHS project to support young people with Type 1 diabetes, has been awarded a prestigious Medipex NHS Innovation Award.

A new website, developed by MyKnowledgeMap as part of an NHS project to support young people with Type 1 diabetes, has been awarded a prestigious Medipex NHS Innovation Award.

A new patient education support system, developed by MyKnowledgeMap as part of an NHS project to support young people with Type 1 diabetes, has been awarded a prestigious Medipex NHS Innovation Award.

The UpBete project, developed with a team from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, won the award in the Software and Telehealth category. The web portal that MyKnowledgeMap created for the project provides information and educational resources on diabetes care, and has helped to dispel fears and misconceptions about diabetes.

The judging panel found that as a result of the project, an online community has been formed, increasing understanding of diabetes and the confidence and well-being of the families. Patient health has improved and the website has received over 1,000 visitors in six months. The Medipex Innovation Awards, now in their eighth year, are open to NHS staff members, academic teams and companies across the Yorkshire and Humber and East Midlands regions who have developed innovative ideas to improve patient care across the NHS. This year's Awards attracted the highest ever number of entries - over 150 - with 24 finalists shortlisted across the five categories.

UpBete provides an online support service for young people with Type 1 diabetes and their families containing information, advice and online tools to help them manage their long-term health. It was designed to promote self-management of diabetes, community knowledge-sharing, learning and public outreach, and built with input from families in the Leeds area, the Leeds Children's Diabetes Team and Leeds Institute of Medical Education.

As a result, the young people and families have been able to build their own online community, providing mutual support and advice. The understanding of diabetes has increased, as has the confidence and well-being of the families. The website was found to have contributed to a significant local improvement in the percentage of children with good control over their diabetes, while the percentage with poor control more than halved.

The online portal was developed by MyKnowledgeMap's project team and includes tools for sharing recipes with other families, and online social interaction. A blood glucose tracker tool engenders effective management from an early age with a motivating game-like aspect.

Rob Arntsen, Chairman at MyKnowledgeMap, said:

"UpBete's success is a testament to the innovative process the teams from Leeds and MyKnowledgeMap used in its development. The young people and the families who'd be using the portal were the ones taking the lead on its design."

"Throughout the development, we met regularly with the families, listened to what they wanted, showed them prototypes, and made changes based on their feedback. As part of this process, the families developed a shared set of ideas, and a real support network which the virtual online community could be developed around."

In their evidence to the judging panel, a user of the portal said:

"This has helped to normalise diabetes. This now feels like a family, I've got a support network."