The UK's National Health Service is to hand out more than 5,000 wearables in a year-long trial focused on reducing the risk of patients getting type 2 diabetes.
The fitness tracker, a green clinical-grade wearable made by Buddi called the Nujjer, will automatically monitor activity and sleep levels, while users will be able to press a button on the device to track how many times a day they eat.
This will work with a smartphone app that will give users feedback and message of support, encouraging lifestyle changes aimed at curbing the number of at-risk patients from developing type 2 diabetes.
The app was developed by Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs) of King's Health Partners, which has been trialing the wearable on 200 patients since last year. That trial, which lasted a year, was clearly enough of a success for the NHS to now be rolling out to thousands more patients.
It's all about changing behaviors of patients who are pre-diabetic, which means their blood sugar is high, but not to the point that they can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Patients taking part in the one-year trial will also get access to personal coaching sessions.
The NHS is trialing a few other systems alongside Buddi including other smartphone and computer-based approaches, and a more intensive lifestyle intervention program. If the Buddi approach is a success, it could lead to a more widespread rollout across patients on the NHS.
Diabetes management and prevention is becoming a big focal point of wearable tech makers. Fitbit and Apple have both partnered with Dexcom to bring management to Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch owners, while Fitbit recently announced it was also teaming up with One Drop.
Despite promising efforts from researchers around the world, we're yet to see anyone crack non-invasive glucose tracking in a way that could hit mainstream wearables anytime soon. Rumors abound that Apple is working on it, and we wouldn't be surprised if the other big players are too.
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