• Led by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, in partnership with the Children and Young People’s East Midlands Diabetes Network, De Montfort University, and Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Derby Hospital, Nottingham University Hospitals and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trusts.
  • Introduced a structured learning programme to teach core diabetes knowledge to children with type 1 diabetes and their families in the East Midlands, empowering them to self-manage their condition.
  • Delivered a diabetes curriculum using ‘flipped’ virtual and face-to-face learning.
  • Project ran from September 2016 to November 2017.

Type 1 diabetes patients achieve the best outcomes when they have the knowledge that allows them to self-manage their condition. This project involved developing a structured learning programme to teach core diabetes knowledge to children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and their families. 

The innovation was implemented at four sites in the East Midlands diabetes network. It used a ‘flipped’ learning approach whereby patients learn the theory via a virtual learning environment, combining visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and emotional learning. Knowledge is then tested via a face-to-face discussion with a clinician.

An app was developed, which uses animation to teach children about their condition, along with learning resources and a staff training programme.

So far, 54 patients have actively used the app. Feedback from patients, families and staff has been positive, indicating that the approach is easy to use, is a good addition to traditional education and takes less time to deliver.

Preliminary results show similar outcomes to standard diabetes education, although there aren’t currently enough data for reliable analysis.

The project focus changed dramatically at an early stage, as the team decided to develop an app rather than a website, so that it would be more appealing to patients. However, this did mean the timeframes were very tight. IT was a significant challenge, with the different trusts involved using different IT systems.

The project will be launched in the remaining seven hospitals in the East Midlands during 2018, and the initiative will be rolled out through the National Diabetes Network from June 2018.