Press release

MDMW enhances life quality and brings cost savings

Published on 24 January 2022

A web application developed at the University of Dundee to enable diabetes patients to manage their condition could save health services millions of pounds every year while improving the quality of life of those who use it.

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A web application developed at the University of Dundee to enable diabetes patients to manage their condition could save health services millions of pounds every year while improving the quality of life of those who use it.

My Diabetes My Way (MDMW) was launched in 2008 to provide patients with an accessible means of actively managing their routine care. The website contains multimedia resources for diabetes education, online learning courses and offers people with diabetes access to their electronic personal health record (ePHR), facilitating personalised advice.

Use of this ePHR and the ability to learn about diabetes alongside a person’s own data have been shown to lead to improvements in diabetes control and management. This helps bring about to improvements in quality of life and cost-savings to the health service through prevention or delays in patients developing diabetes complications or using more expensive medications.

An analysis of MDMW data between 2010 and 2018 aimed to assess the cost-utility of the system compared to routine diabetes care in people with type 2 diabetes who do not use insulin. The researchers found that users of the service were likely to experience an improvement in their quality of life and their diabetes control.

This improvement in diabetes control was subsequently shown to result in the avoidance or delay in the onset of diabetes complications. Cost savings were demonstrated through a reduction in heart, kidney, eye and foot disease for patients and a reduction in treatment and medication costs to the NHS.

In Scotland at the time of the data collection, there were 235,769 people with type 2 diabetes not on insulin. It is estimated that the NHS in Scotland could save £2.8 million each year if every person in this category were to use the system and experience similar benefits

“These findings suggest that MDMW may be among the most cost-effective interventions available to support diabetes management,” said Dr Scott Cunningham, Senior Lecturer in Population Health and Genomics at the University’s School of Medicine and Principal Investigator for the MDMW programme.

“This study demonstrates for the first time the potential of a low-cost, scalable digital intervention to deliver population-based benefits and cost savings. Digital self-management solutions are becoming more prevalent in healthcare and My Diabetes My Way empowers people with diabetes and their caregivers to take responsibility for the condition.

“This paper shows use of MDMW positively adds to routine care, both in terms of cost savings and life improvements. Even if only 25% of Scotland’s type 2 population used the service and benefit similarly, there remains a potential saving of around £7 million over a 10-year period.

“Even more importantly, wider use of the MDMW service could result in the delay or reduction of long-term complications and increased life expectancy in health care systems where it is used and adopted.

“This study demonstrates the benefits of people with long-term conditions gaining access to their clinical records to assist with their own self-management. More systems like My Diabetes My Way are urgently required to provide more holistic coverage of an individual’s health and care.”

Development of the award-winning MDMW programme began in 2006 when Dr Cunningham received funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Diabetes Group, and it continues to be supported through this route, alongside Scotland’s Technology Enabled Care Programme.

Diabetes clinicians across Scotland have contributed to its development, including Dr Deborah Wake from the University of Edinburgh, MDMW’s Clinical Lead.

MDMW now has over 62,000 registrants across the country and Dr Cunningham and Dr Wake’s spin-out company MyWay Digital Health is expanding to develop the service for use in healthcare systems across the rest of the UK and in other countries.

The analysis of MDMW data was published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

Enquiries

Grant Hill

Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768

G.Hill@dundee.ac.uk
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