By Tamlin Magee
Nov. 14, 2016
"They were the most open, most easy company to work with," Sundstrom says. "Some of the other providers had a number of distinct conditions they wanted to bring - they already had some ideas of what they wanted to get out of it for their organisation."
"But HPE just said: we want to understand the problem and see how we can help, and they put no conditions on their participation - they just participated as an open party, like everybody else did," Sundstrom explains. "I think we found that attractive. That openness and ability they have to share everything they do with the rest of the group has been critical to the success of the project so far."
Along with the monitoring aspect, the project has also created 'structured education programmes', a comprehensive body of information that has been validated by health professionals and made available to patients. There are also other companies working exclusively on the social networking side, so that patients with diabetes can talk to one another.
For the data itself, Sundstrom says that this is stored in military-grade data centres so it is as secure as it gets.
The group is measuring success of the project in a few different ways. "My own answer is it will be a success if people use it," Sundstrom says. "That's critical - the number of users that find this useful to them will be the greatest mark of success.
"Having said that, there's some more rigorous methodology being applied to," he explains. "There are health outcomes, currently being measured by an organisation called Health Economics, which is a consultancy arm of the academic groups in Wales - Cardiff and Swansea.
"The other thing that's very important is that patient-reported outcomes are built into the platform, the ability for patients to rate how they themselves are improving," he says.
"We have built in another outcome measure, tracking - what are people using and how often are they using it? You can do that with an IoT platform, so we will also be getting stats ourselves as to what patients are using and find most useful about it."
He imagines that this model, if successful, could be scaled up and applied for other areas of patient management.
"Because we're an NHS England-funded organisation, we're able to have high-level discussions with our health professionals, so we can ask them: how can you see this working in your world?
"There are a few things they come back to me and really want to know. One is: does this help people? Can this be an alternative to the kinds of treatments they have at the moment, and does it really work as a treatment?"