Diabetes prevention case study: How health apps are making a difference

In 2021 Ingeus, the company which delivers the National Diabetes Prevention Programme on behalf of the NHS, began using Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership’s ORCHA Health App Library. The educators for the programme recognised that health apps could play a key role in supporting people with managing their weight, nutrition and exercise in a way that could help reduce their risk of diabetes. By building the recommendation of health apps into their care pathway, they were able to augment the support they gave to patients. They felt this gave participants positive reinforcement whilst helping professionals stay better informed about patient progress.

The service tested its usage of health apps with participants and found that:

  • 90% of respondents downloaded all or some of the apps recommended to them
  • 88% used the apps that were recommended to them
  • 90% found the apps useful
  • 67% believe that apps supported their weight loss efforts
  • 80% felt the app helped them meet their personal health goals
  • 84% felt the app helped them become more active
  • 86% felt the app supported them to make healthier lifestyle choice.

Commenting on the work, Linda Vernon, Acting Digital Culture and Transformation Clinical Lead, Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, said: “Using apps is a really easy way to support our citizens. ORCHA is a big part of our digital health literacy work, enabling people to have access to safe and reliable apps and digital technologies that do what it says on the tin.”

One of its participants, Susan, said: “I wouldn’t have thought to download a health app, but I put my weight loss and healthier lifestyle down to my health app.”