Guest Blog – Maureen Chadwick “living with diabetes & technology”


Recently I was asked to express how those living with diabetes felt about the push for new technology within health.

I have to admit I struggled with the question and then at a recent Diabetes UK support group, I took the opportunity to ask.

How do you feel about the introduction of telehealth, telecare, telemedicine? The response came back what are you talking about and why don’t we know more about it?

So I asked if they had heard of Fitbit and Jawbone, sure enough they were willing to show me.

I further explained that in 2005 I worked for Nottingham Rehab Supplies and was involved in a TeleCare Project called WristCare that came from Finland. I was the activity analyser and went to company HQ to learn how to read and understand the activity received, via the wristband and telephone connection.

We piloted in the devices in Eastbourne but where based in Nottingham but any problems that the wearer had they could contact the call centre like most telecare products. I would throughout the day looked at the activity over 24 hour cycle and on one such occasion using the data collected, we were able to prevent a gentleman from having a cardiac incident.

They still wanted to know why they didn’t know about it.

This then turned the whole question on its head and made me reflect over my career in nursing and more specifically diabetes nursing…..

My diabetes journey started early in my nursing career when I had to write a case study up about a patient on the ward I was working on. Unlike everyone else I chose a patient with diabetes – I have no idea why? The memory stayed with me because if I am perfectly honest it made no sense.

We are talking 1976, but then the technology we had for testing was urine in the sluice with test tubes, pipet and tablets.

Technology developed urine dipsticks that we use today, then on came blood glucose monitors, BD disposable plastic insulin syringes and then I remember the Novo Nordisk Rep arriving with the NovoPen and insulin cartridges.

We now have a plethora of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring tools. There is even a blood glucose meter that measure blood sugars without being invasive just by scanning a disc on your arm.

So when I thought about patients and technology, those living with diabetes for a long time have been exposed to varying types of changes in medical technology without realising it.

Medical technology has even inspired the development of an external artificial pancreas and the transplanting of Islet cell enabling someone with Type 1 diabetes to produce their own insulin.

With all health issues it is continuous, as researchers continually try to mimic the way in which insulin works – for tighter control and enabling someone life a long and full life.


*The opinions expressed are the bloggers own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Health Innovation Summit.

Twitter @HIC2016

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