Monday, 11 March 2013

B4: The Diabetes App Challenge: Young people with diabetes creating apps

Emily Ashurst, Ray Jones, Kate Boddy, Martin Jenner, Charles Abraham, Suzanne Hammersley, Rachel Besser, Jonathan Pinkney

Learning to live with diabetes can be a challenge especially at the time of transition from being children with diabetes, when parents mostly take responsibility, to adults with total responsibility for managing their diabetes. Learning, for young people with diabetes (YPD) at this time, to get the best from consultations with health care professionals can also be a challenge. Apps preparing YPD for their consultations could help but it seemed the best people to develop such apps should be YPD – with some help. The aim of this presentation is to describe our experience of supporting YPD to develop apps for YPD. We think the approach could apply to other groups of young people learning to live with a condition but seek the views of the conference.

The Diabetes App Challenge was a national invitation from 20th June to 14th October 2012 to YPD to develop and submit apps (or websites) for subsequent use by other YPD. We used various means to advertise the invitation including Twitter, Facebook, Google Ads, emails to diabetes clinics and various listserves, and the Diabetes UK website and newsletter. Twenty-eight YPDs and 25 non-diabetic app developers expressed interest in submitting apps or websites. Some applied as a team, other teams were match-made by us. Tech support was offered via a discussion forum but was not used much. Finally, 6 apps were submitted, 1 for iOS, 2 for android, and 3 websites. We offered instruction, app submission guidance and support if needed.

Initial comments made by YPDs who have used the apps include, “Helped gather my thoughts and ideas of what i wanted to discuss with my doctor”.

Many health conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, require that people learn how best to manage the condition and how to get needed support from health services. Apps and online resources can help them learn and manage their condition. This presentation will ask the audience for their views on whether this approach can be applied to other areas of life skills learning or the formal curriculum.

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