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NHS to Offer Tech-Dubbed Artificial Pancreas to Diabetes Patients in UK

Written by : Nikita Saha

April 2, 2024

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Reports suggest that the NHS is planning to offer this technology to tens of thousands of people with Type-1 diabetes to help manage the condition.

In a significant development, the NHS has set its foot to offer technology dubbed artificial pancreas to UK citizens.

Reportedly, the NHS is planning to offer this technology to tens of thousands of people with Type-1 diabetes to help manage the condition.

The system, often referred to as a hybrid closed-loop system, combines advanced algorithms and wearable devices.

A glucose sensor implanted under the skin continuously monitors blood sugar levels. Further, an insulin pump automatically calculates and delivers the precise amount of insulin needed.

Sharing her experience, Gemma Lavery, a participant in the NHS pilot scheme, said, “The closed loop helps sort out my blood-glucose levels before they become a problem. My diabetes is more stable.”

How Does it Work

The artificial pancreas mimics the function of a healthy pancreas by adjusting insulin delivery in real time. It responds to fluctuations in blood glucose levels, preventing dangerous highs and lows.

The system uses a glucose sensor to measure blood sugar (glucose) levels. The readings of which are sent wirelessly to a pump which calculates the amount of insulin required.

Further, users can monitor readings on a smartphone, which also allows them to input the amount of carbohydrates being eaten at meals.

NHS’ Rollout Plan

Starting this month, the NHS will reach out to eligible adults and children who could benefit from this technology. However, full implementation may take up to five years due to device availability and staff training.

In pilot testing, the technology reported improved quality of life and reduced the risk of long-term health complications.

Roughly 300,000 individuals in the UK suffer from Type 1 diabetes, with approximately 29,000 being children.

In this condition, their pancreas fails to generate insulin, a crucial hormone for converting food into energy. Consequently, they must vigilantly monitor their blood sugar levels and administer insulin daily through injections or a pump.

This artificial pancreas technology automates this process, effectively emulating the pancreas's function.

The new technology also helps to improve overall blood sugar control, which means the chance of complications such as heart disease, eyesight problems and kidney disease - decreases.

Reportedly, Scotland is also offering the technology, and Wales and Northern Ireland could soon follow suit.

Commenting on the development, Prof Partha Kar, national speciality advisor for diabetes, NHS said, "It is great news for everyone with Type 1 diabetes. This futuristic technology not only improves medical care but also enhances the quality of life for those affected,"

Earlier, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved the NHS roll-out of the system in December.

NICE recommends its use for those with Type 1 who are in certain categories, including children and under 18s, pregnant women, and those with a HbA1c reading - a way of recording long-term blood sugar levels - of 58 mmol/mol, or 7.5%, or higher.

Days back, Obesity International, a not-for-profit initiative focusing on metabolic diseases, joined forces with Procter & Gamble (P&G) Health Limited to introduce "Language of Diabetes."

The "Language of Diabetes" is a patent-pending, technology-based solution designed to enhance patient awareness and self-care in diabetes.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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