Third Sector Excellence Awards 2012: Use of Digital Media - Winner: Diabetes UK: iPhone app

For the most innovative use of digital media

The app helps people manage their condition
The app helps people manage their condition

Few endorsements come bigger than a recommendation of your product by the NHS, but this is what happened when Diabetes UK launched an iPhone app designed to help people with diabetes to manage their conditions better.

The NHS gave its endorsement to the app after witnessing how it can help to reduce the burden on GPs by empowering individuals to keep track of their condition.

Diabetes UK began development of the app by conducting research among its 30,000-strong Facebook community to help it understand which digital media products appealed to them and could help them manage their condition.

The charity discovered that diabetics wanted a way to remember important medical information they needed to tell their doctors and a device that could help them monitor their condition. The decision to make an iPhone app was made after the charity discovered that many diabetics were already using apps to help manage their condition, but they were not comprehensive enough.

After the charity chose a design for the app, it was tested by a focus group. The final product enables users to track their blood glucose levels and mood, save 'talking points' for appointments and make data shareable through social media with friends and healthcare professionals.

Within months of the app's launch in September 2011, the charity had exceeded its initial objective of 5,000 downloads. By March this year the app had been downloaded more than 15,000 times and had a 4.5-star rating in the Appeal App Store, showing that users find it useful.

The charity believes that the app will also reduce public spending. Adult diabetics see their GPs almost twice as often as non-diabetics, with the average GP visit costing the NHS £27.50. If only 10 per cent of the app's downloaders saw their GP once less often every year, it would save about £50,000.

Award judge Caroline Diehl, chief executive of the Media Trust, said: "This app is so focused and simple, yet it's ingenious. I loved the way they tested the product with Facebook users."


Caroline Diehl, vhief executive, Media Trust

Peter Maple, senior lecturer for MSc Management in Civil Society, London South Bank University

Karl Wilding, head of policy, research and foresight, National Council for Voluntary Organisations


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