A programme which aims to encourage people with type 2 diabetes to increase their physical activity has been launched.
The Milton Keynes Activity Reward Programme uses technology and financial incentives to support participants to improve their health over a 24-month period.
It is a partnership between Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH) NHS Foundation Trust and Milton Keynes City Council (MKCC) in collaboration with EXI®, Apple and Loughborough University.
EXI will create a personalised exercise programme for each participant in the study that will be tailored to their specific needs.
Participants will be provided with an Apple watch to help them track their progress and complete their weekly prescription.
They are incentivised to meet their physical activity prescription and can earn up to £365 each year in vouchers if they achieve all their activity goals.
It is thought that by using technology in this way, it may help people become healthier and potentially reduce pressures on the NHS, by providing patients with the tools they need to take on a more active role in their own health management.
Joe Harrison, Chief Executive of MKUH, said: “The collaboration between Milton Keynes University Hospital, Milton Keynes City Council, EXI and Apple is a testament to what can be achieved when using technology to drive change and promote better health outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes and the NHS.
“Providing people with the tools to manage their condition from home means that these patients have autonomy over elements of their care and reduces the risk of them being admitted into hospital.
“It also means that the staff working at the hospital can focus on providing care for our vulnerable and sick patients who need the attention the most.”
Councillor Jane Carr, Cabinet Member for Tackling Social Inequalities, said: “This innovative trial is a huge opportunity to prevent disease and disability and improve the quality of life for residents.
“Most people living with diabetes want more control of their lives and through our local partnership, we can help them to make informed decisions and choices.
“This trial goes beyond the treatment of diabetes with the potential to reduce pressures on our local health services and improve the overall health and wellbeing of those involved.”
Local Milton Keynes GP Dr Andy Potter who is one of the study researchers and leading the recruitment in primary care said: “Being regularly active is one of the most important things patients can do to improve their health.
“We urgently need to understand how tools help people to be active and stay active. I am very excited to be able to help investigate this new approach for our patients, and I am looking forward to working with colleagues in primary care to offer this across Milton Keynes.”
The project, supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research brings together technology, academic and healthcare organisations with the City Council to drive change and promote better health outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes.