Innovation and technology
Transforming lives for people with diabetes

Diabetes and Technology

Diabetes has grave social and economic implications for individuals and society. It is a huge challenge both in the developed world and in developing countries.

Innovation and technology have transformed the lives of patients with diabetes.

Diabetes was first documented as a condition in 1500 BC, in 1869 Paul Langerhans described the islet cells of the pancreas and in 1921 Frederick Banting and Charles Best discover insulin. Since then:

  • 1969 the first portable blood glucose meter was introduced,
  • 1998 the first insulin pumps to be introduced,
  • 2002 continuous glucose monitors become widely available.
  • 2013 live remote tracking of CGM data 

Improving connectivity and integrating technologies has the potential to further improve care.  Mobile health (mHealth) solutions can help healthcare providers deliver better, more consistent, coordinated and more efficient healthcare, where and how it is needed, increase access to health services to remote or under-served communities, and empower individuals to manage their own health more proactively and effectively.

The mHealth Grand Tour was developed to demonstrate how exercise and diet can help people manage (and prevent) diabetes.  The Tour was also developed to demonstrate how new technology solutions can help people to address the challenges we face with diabetes, collectively and individually.

Diabetes facts and figures

  • In 2014 384 million people had this disease, which is expected to 592 million by 2035 (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition 2014 update)
  • In 2013, it is estimated that 56 million people had diabetes in Europe. This is expected to increase to 69 million by 2035 (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition)
  • One person dies every 7 seconds as a result of diabetes (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition, 2014 Update)
  • 77% of people with diabetes are living in low and middle income countries. (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition, 2014 Update)
  • In Europe, about 75% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular events - the number one cause of death in Europe. (The Policy Puzzle, 3rd Edition, IDF Europe, 2011)
  • Europe is home to the highest number of children with type 1 diabetes in the world (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition)
  • In 2013, the world spent US$612 billion on diabetes care, 11% of global health expenditure (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition, 2014 Update)
  • $1 in every $9 spent on healthcare globally is spent on diabetes  (IDF Diabetes Atlas 6th Edition, 2014 Update)
  • Global expenditure on diabetes care is predicted to rise by up to 34% by 2030 (Zhang Survey (4) in 2011)
  • The cost of diabetes to the NHS is £10bn or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales and equates to over £1 million being spent on diabetes every hour. (Diabetes.co.uk March 2014)
  • Estimates show that the cost of prescribing medication for complications of diabetes is around 3 to 4 times the cost of prescribing diabetes medication. (London School of Economics report in 2012)

What is mHealth?

connected healthcare - reduces costs, increases accessibility

Embedded mHealth solutions can improve the lives of millions of people and help address some of the most significant healthcare challenges in the world today.

One of the biggest challenges facing societies worldwide is how to make high-quality healthcare affordable and accessible for all.

Governments, individuals and private insurers worldwide are urgently seeking more cost-effective ways of preventing and treating chronic diseases and other debilitating conditions.

The widespread use of mobile connectivity in healthcare could significantly cut costs, increase the reach and accessibility of healthcare services and reduce the impact of illness on people's lives.

To accelerate the development and adoption of embedded mHealth devices and solutions, the mHealth Grand Tour is engaging with the wider ecosystem and working with key players to understand their needs and to reduce the barriers to adoption.

mHealth devices