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.

Tackling diabetes requires charitable funding

Here's how we plan to help

Charities need funding to advance diabetes care, prevention and cure worldwide.

The mHealth Grand Tour is being delivered in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation European Region (IDF Europe). Representing 66 diabetes organisations in 47 European countries, the IDF Europe's mission is to advance diabetes care, prevention and cure.

The mHealth Grand Tour is a great way to help this mission. Up to and during the ride we will be showcasing innovation in diabetes care and demonstrating mHealth solutions.

These solutions are designed to help people with diabetes, together with their healthcare professionals, optimise management of the condition and maintain an active lifestyle.

We will look to demonstrate mHealth solutions, such as connected blood glucose monitors, that are available in the market and are already helping patients manage diabetes and improve their lifestyles.

We will also be looking to stimulate innovation by encouraging people to explore how mobile technologies can be applied to the prevention and management of diabetes. We will be letting people know our successes, and also the lessons we are learning, on the way!

The Tour will also enable us to raise funds for charity: We are providing charity places, and hosting a charity event in Barcelona. In addition, to help tackle this global challenge, we are encouraging individual or team riders, should they wish, to raise funds for diabetes charities and/or their own personal charities too.

The mHealth Grand Tour is a not-for-profit activity. We are dependent on corporate sponsorship and the generosity of our suppliers to deliver the event. Any funding we raise, beyond that needed to deliver the event, will be donated to diabetes charities. We hope this donation will be substantial.

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)

Key facts (mHealth)

The potential of mHealth: some key facts and figures
  • It is estimated that some 30% of smartphone users are likely to use wellness apps by 2015.
  • In the US, more than 80% of physicians are now using smartphones for personal and general use, and increasingly, doctors will use their smartphones - as well as other devices such as tablets - as digital assistants.
  • By speeding up processes, reducing the possibility for human error, and avoiding duplication, remote access to centralised electronic health records can reduce administrative burdens by 20 to 30%.
  • Early indications of the Whole System Demonstrator Programme in the UK show that if used correctly, the use of technology as a remote intervention can lead to: a 20% reduction in emergency admissions, a 14% reduction in bed days and a 45% reduction in mortality rates.
  • Trials in Nordic countries show that mHealth could generate a 50-60% reduction in hospital nights and rehospitalisations for patients with COPD.
  • Taking data collected from pilots and projects in Scotland and Norway, it is estimated that mHealth could reduce overall elderly care expenditure by 25%.
  • Currently, there are over 800 mHealth deployments worldwide, of which 101 are in Europe.