For the first time, the NHS has commissioned a health app to help patients with type 2 diabetes.
OurPath, which is similar in concept to the calorie-counting app MyFitnessPal, is the first digital behavioural change programme to manage type 2 diabetes to be commissioned by the NHS.
Users are sent an activity tracker and Wi-Fi enabled scales, and are assigned a mentor to help them to make lifestyle changes over a six-week period.
The programme includes improving diet, setting achievable goals and receiving interactive, daily content to keep them motivated. The programme is connected to the app, which enables the patients to monitor their progress.
OurPath, which was launched in June 2016 and has been used by hundreds of patients so far, is currently being piloted across GP practices in North-West London. The £149 cost for each prescription for the app, is paid by the NHS in the hopes of reducing long-term health problems for diabetic patients.
If the pilot is successful, the technology could be adopted by the NHS elsewhere, with practices prescribing OurPath for patients who have type 2 diabetes or might be at risk of it.
App co-creator, Chris Edson said: ‘We wanted to bring all the advancements that have happened in the US and make it available in the UK. There’s a lot being done within the NHS about starting to prescribe or give recommendations for apps.
‘But we also thought that an app by itself doesn’t do anything. There’s also a human element to it as well.’