Can this wearable prevent type 2 diabetes?

King’s Health Partners, an academic health science center in the U.K., will trial a wearable and mobile app program that tries to prevent patients from developing type 2 diabetes.

The program will take place in Lambeth and Southwark, two London boroughs. 200 patients, who are the most at-risk of developing type 2 diabetes, will trial the wearable and app combo for a year.

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Activity will be tracked through the Buddi wearable, another U.K. company, but most of the interaction will take place on the mobile app. Patients will receive encouraging messages to try and get them active, alongside exercise programs tailored to user preferences. If a user is unable to stick to a regime, the app may offer alternatives.

The app will also monitor eating behaviors, to ensure that patients are not foods high in sugars or fat too often. Buddi’s wearable lets users get in contact with King’s Health Partners if they fall ill.

Buddi is one of the first wearables being tested by NHS

It is one of the first NHS-backed trials that involve wearables and mobile applications, according to Buddi CEO and founder Sara Murray. Innovate UK, the government’s public body for investment in startups, is also backing the program.

“In the face of the explosive growth of the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic, not only in London but globally, continued innovations in clinical services are required and the NHS is in need of new cost effective tools,” said King’s Health Partners lead researcher, Professor Khalida Ismail.

“Current intensive and expensive methods are not sustainable given the projected growth of the disease and we have a duty to develop new solutions to help tackle the problem.”

The national health service is looking for ways to reduce the amount of hospital visits and provide patients with optimal and cost effective solutions to healthcare problems, as its budget continues to suffer under the Conservative government. If the trial goes well, we may see further deployment across the U.K. for prediabetes patients.

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