Wednesday 19 April 2017, UK. A report, published in Primary Care Diabetes, confirms that watching short health information films on a computer, tablet or smartphone can help the growing number of people living with diabetes to better manage their condition.
The PocketMedic films were ‘prescribed’ to people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, alongside standard treatments, by a GP or practice nurse. After just 3-months, routine tests showed a clinically significant improvement in HbA1c – an established marker of diabetes control.
Swansea University’s Professor Jeffrey W Stephens, consultant physician at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, said, “These results are highly encouraging. One in four patients watched at least one PocketMedic film and these film-watchers demonstrated that, as a result, they were better able to manage their condition.”
Self-management skills are widely recognised as an increasingly important treatment that can have a major effect on an individual’s quality of life. Yet less than 1 in 100 people typically choose to attend an educational programme that can, potentially, prevent them from developing blindness, kidney failure, amputation or other health complication.
During the study, there were eleven films in the PocketMedic ‘Living with diabetes’ series including: What is diabetes? What can I eat? Diabetes and weight, Looking after your feet, Stopping smoking, Medication and monitoring, Jill’s story, Jeff’s story and Tony and Michelle’s story.
Swansea University’s Dr Sam Rice, a consultant physician at Hywel Dda University Health Board, explained, “Digital prescriptions encourage people to access expert health information, practical advice and emotional support from the comfort of their own home. Each motivational film can be watched by patients and carers as many times as required and, crucially, at a time when the individual faces a new health challenge.”
PocketMedic is the brainchild of Kimberley Littlemore, co-founder and creative director of eHealth Digital Media. As a former TV producer and documentary maker, Kimberley has first-hand experience of using the power of storytelling to encourage people to change their behaviour and take decisive action.
The bite-sized ‘Living with diabetes’ films were produced by Kimberley Littlemore in partnership with the report authors, Professor Stephens and Dr Rice. The films, see www.medic.video/diabetes, were reviewed by expert patients, clinicians and frontline healthcare professionals before distribution.
The PocketMedic library currently boasts around 100 films covering chronic pain, chronic lung disease (COPD), diabetes (type 1, type 2, gestational and pre-diabetes), heart failure, lymphoedema, life after cancer, wellbeing (anxiety and depression), and more. New films are added in line with the health priorities of the NHS.
Through Welsh Government health innovation funding, all NHS Wales’ patients can watch the ‘Living with diabetes’ and ‘Living with lymphoedema’ series. In England, the PocketMedic films are available through GP clusters, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. Other partners, across the UK, will be announced in due course.
Through being better informed, people learn to make small adjustments that, potentially, help prevent health complications associated with their condition.
“The findings of this study are a real boost for digital health,” concluded Joanna Lewis, co-founder of eHealth Digital Media. “We’ll continue to work in partnership with expert patients and frontline healthcare providers to produce high-quality, low-cost, PocketMedic films focused on the health priorities of our colleagues in the NHS.”
eHealth Digital Media is proud to work with the expert patients and healthcare professionals who help to shape the growing library of PocketMedic films. Here, five of the many patients who contributed to the ‘living with diabetes’ series, share their stories:
Jill was overweight and very thirsty. Her GP undertook routine tests and Jill was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She was prescribed medication and encouraged to join a slimming club. More than a decade later, Jill shares her experience of living with diabetes while juggling work and family life.
Jill admits it can be tough. She continues to take medication and attend six monthly and annual check-ups with the diabetes team. She has learnt to monitor her fat, sugar and carbohydrate intake but she still enjoys the occasional treat like an Indian or Chinese meal. And, whatever the weather, Jill finds time to take her dog for regular walks.
Following an injury, more than a decade ago, Tony was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He struggled to accept the diagnosis – as he didn’t have any symptoms – and continued to eat large portions of his favourite foods. His blood glucose was out of control, the disease progressed and Tony was prescribed insulin.
Having learned as a child ‘to eat everything on your plate’, Tony still finds it difficult to eat smaller portions of more healthy food. But, having lost more than 6 stone, Tony has a positive attitude to weight loss: “You’ll have good days and bad days but one bad day doesn’t mean you’ve blown it!”
Michelle was suffering from bad headaches. She decided to visit her family doctor and was shocked to find that, like her husband, she had developed type 2 diabetes. She decided to take decisive action and attended X-PERT – a structured educational course designed to encourage people to share knowledge and make the necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Michelle is enjoying a more active life. She has lost 4 stone in weight and regularly visits the gym with her daughter. Her advice? “Don’t panic! Diabetes isn’t the end of the world.”
Before Jeff was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes he felt very tired. He’d get home from work and fall asleep in the chair.
Jeff shares the fears he first felt when he heard the diagnosis and, through the films, he reassures the watcher that there is no reason to be scared if you learn to control your blood glucose. His wise words? “Recognise that when you’re active you need to eat a bit more and, when you’re sitting around, you need to eat less.”
Through the film, Steve talks about how he successfully used insulin to manage his type 1 diabetes for more than a decade. However, while working away from home, he became complacent and started to skip the odd meal. He thought he could get away with it!
Steve developed an infection. He was shocked to discover that his foot had turned black overnight – as he felt no pain – and was lucky to arrive at A&E ‘just in time’.
Photograph 1: Jill Whitney-Shreves was diagnosed with diabetes twelve years ago
Photograph 2: Tony and Michelle Chelley live with type 2 diabetes
Photograph 3: Jeff Lye injects insulin to help manage his condition.
Note to Editors:
- eHealth Digital Media Limited (EDHM) – a specialist health communications company – is working in close collaboration with expert patients, academics and NHS colleagues to produce the PocketMedic films. The aim is to roll-out the service, across the NHS, by 2020. See: http://ehealthdigital.co.uk
- EHDM was co-founded by: Philip Dancey, MD; Dr Carl Brookes, Clinical Director; Joanna Lewis, Commercial Director and Kimberley Littlemore, Creative Director. See: http://ehealthdigital.co.uk/about-us/
- PocketMedic is a digital platform for NHS patients, families and carers. For more info, email: email@example.com
- PocketMedic films are produced by the award-winning documentary maker and filmmaker, Kimberley Littlemore, in partnership with expert patients, academics and health professionals.
- The patient self-management films are presented by Dr Jane Gilbert, a qualified doctor, health journalist and media medic. See: medic.video/intro
- Jeffrey W Stephens is Professor of Medicine (Diabetes & Metabolism) at Swansea University’s Institute of Life Sciences, Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at Morriston Hospital, Member of the Council of Healthcare Professionals for Diabetes UK and Assistant Medical Director for Research and Development within the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board.
- Dr Sam Rice is a Senior Lecturer at Swansea University and an Honorary Fellow at Aberystwyth University. He is a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at Prince Philip Hospital, Deputy Research and Development Director at Hywel Dda University Health Board and one of 20 Clinical Champions selected by Diabetes UK to advocate for people with diabetes. Dr Rice has worked with commissioners, service managers and front-line healthcare professionals to introduce new methods of educating patients and sharing good practice.
- The Welsh Government ‘Together for Health | Diabetes Annual Report 2015’, showed that, in Wales. only 0.9% of patients attends a structured educational course. This means that 99% of the 183,000 patients living with type 2 diabetes in Wales could benefit from watching one or more of the PocketMedic films.
- Primary Care Diabetes is the international journal of Primary Care Diabetes. See: http://www.primary-care-diabetes.com/ For a synopsis of ‘the pilot service-evaluation of prescribed internet-based patient education films for patients with type 2 diabetes’ published in May 2017, see: http://www.primary-care-diabetes.com/article/S1751-9918(17)30025-6/fulltext
For filming/interview opportunities, please call Bethan Lauder on 0772 933 4601 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org