A new app – launched at the RUH – is helping children with diabetes to manage their own care.
The MyLife app was introduced at the hospital for children with type 1 diabetes. It calculates the precise dose of insulin needed, taking into account blood glucose measurements and planned food and drink.
To use it, children check their blood sugar in the way they normally do – which could be a finger prick check or using a sensor – then add the result into the app. They also add their planned carbohydrate intake, then the app will tell them exactly how much insulin they need to inject.
Around 170 RUH patients aged up to 18 are now using the app, made by diabetes specialists Ypsomed, thanks to work by the Paediatric Diabetes team.
The RUH is celebrating the project this week, to link in with World Diabetes Day on Sunday 14 November.
Consultant Paediatrician Lynn Diskin said: “The best thing about the app is how easy it is for young people and their families. Being diagnosed with lifelong diabetes is hard enough, so being able to use the app to manage insulin calculations is fantastic.
“We have had really positive feedback, and teenagers especially tell us that they really like that everything is all in one place on their phone. Of course, the app isn’t just for children – they can go on to use it in adulthood too.
“Longer-term we expect to see a beneficial impact on rates of complications, especially for our patients who use sensors to check their blood glucose levels. The app means that they can more accurately calculate the insulin they need.
“The app automatically updates our records too – we can review our patients’ data and make suggestions around management.”
The team took a personalised approach to introducing the app, knowing that for some families the availability of technology would be a barrier.
Additional support included face-to-face teaching sessions for those who couldn’t access an online session. The team also sourced funding from RUH charity The Forever Friends Appeal to buy up-to-date mobile phones for those families who were unable to afford one.
The project was recently shortlisted in the national Quality In Care Diabetes Awards, and the team have also been sharing the project with others across the South West.
Lynn added: “Launching a brand new app during the pandemic was even more challenging, as we used virtual consultations and education sessions. We also taught ward staff so they could support children and young people too.
“The vast majority of our eligible patients are now using MyLife, and we’re so proud of the work the whole team did.”