Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the world today. In fact, since 1980 the number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled. Last year the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimated that 1 in 11 adults around the world has diabetes - that is 415 million people, and one person dies every six seconds from diabetes.
There is a link between diabetes and comorbidities and consequently diabetes is associated with multiple complications, higher mortality and substantial healthcare costs. Currently, diabetes is responsible for 12% of the total global health expenditure – that’s 673 billlion USD, and this number is only expected to rise3.
What many people don’t know is that for the most part, (type 2) diabetes is preventable and may be reversible. Melon Health have developed a patient, family and whanau-centred self-management programme for individuals with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, called BetaMe. It is delivered through web and mobile applications and has a strong emphasis on engagement and education for people with long term conditions.
In late 2015, Melon Health partnered with Midlands Health Network NZ to pilot BetaMe. The purpose was to address the 20% (and rising) cohort of New Zealanders with prediabetes as well as the rising burden of chronic disease management facing the New Zealand primary care sector.
The behaviour change programme supports members, family and whanau as they actively make healthy lifestyle changes. Members participate on a safe and secure online community, share experiences and support each other throughout their journey. They inspire one other by posting personal stories, and uploading photos from their morning walk or of their healthy meal. Members stay motivated to reach their goals by tracking their weight, exercise, energy levels and happiness on a daily basis. The BetaMe programme extends the clinical setting such that members are able to direct message and schedule audio or video meetings with their health coach or nurse.
The results of the pilot were impressive. Based on the initial 76 people who completed the 16 week programme, 91% reduced their HbA1c, 94% lost weight, 94% reduced their BMI, 87% reduced waist measurement, and most importantly 78% no longer had prediabetes.
The programme received overwhelming positive feedback from participants. Comments included:
“BetaMe programme rocks and has given me some good ideas about how to manage and be responsible for my own health”
“I am over the moon, I’ve lost 10.9 kg and my BMI is down to 33!!”
“Please ensure this programme continues, it is an extremely valuable tool for people in need”
“Now I’ve started, there’s no going back.”
These positive results and feedback from patients suggest that BetaMe serves as a highly valuable tool for people with prediabetes and diabetes. We hope to learn more as the programme continues to be prescribed around the country so that more people are empowered to take control of their own health, and benefit from improved health outcomes.
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