Researchers develop mobile app to help diabetic patients monitor foot health

Researchers develop mobile app to help diabetic patients monitor foot health

(L-R) Tan Tock Seng Health center Senior Manual Dr. Liew Huiling, NTU’s Lee Kong Chian College of Remedy (LKCMedicine) and Head of Psychology at NTU’s College of Social Sciences Partner Professor Andy Ho Hau Yan, and NTU’s LKCMedicine Learn Fellow Dr. Anita Pienkowska, posing with the WellFeet app. Credit: NTU Singapore

A neighborhood of researchers, led by Nanyang Technological College, Singapore (NTU Singapore), has developed a mobile application to educate participants living with diabetes and their caregivers with records of the disease and help them in monitoring their day-to-day actions, which entails medication, physical activity, and their weight reduction blueprint.

The app, WellFeet, turned into once developed in session with clinicians from Tan Tock Seng Health center and the National Health care Neighborhood. It goals to help forestall a predominant diabetes complication: diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), which happen in a third (34 p.c) of participants living with the disease. In Singapore, about one in twelve Singapore residents (8.5 p.c), or around 32,000 of us, have confidence diabetes.

Of us living with diabetes are extra inclined to wounds on their ft which are exhausting to heal. When now no longer monitored or handled effectively, diabetic foot ulcers can lead to decrease limb amputation and an elevated concern of loss of life. The excessive reoccurrence price formula that DFUs usually lead to monetary burdens among patients due to the routine payments of medication and operations, train the researchers.

The app has been tested by 40 pairs of patients and their caregivers from Tan Tock Seng Health center and barely evaluated in a qualitative and quantitative query. After one month of the usage of the app, the query individuals seen certain changes in footcare habits and diabetes self-care routines.

WellFeet app turned into once also phase of an earlier examine mission, “Combating limb losses in Singapore,” where an additional 835 patients and caregivers recruited all over five health care establishments in Singapore also tested the app.

This elevated examine mission animated patients and caregivers from National College Health center, Ng Teng Fong Traditional Health center, Tan Tock Seng Health center, Admiralty Medical Centre under Khoo Teck Puat Health center, and Toa Payoh Polyclinic, investigated primarily the most up-to-date foot care behaviors among of us living with diabetes and their caregivers.

WellFeet goals to personal a gap in mobile applications for diabetic foot ulcers, as most up-to-date apps attain now no longer encompass training and mostly take into account measuring ulcer progression. Not like totally different existing training apps, WellFeet entails entire affected person training delivered by animations in English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil, catering to Singapore’s multi-ethnic inhabitants.

Patient training is necessary to promote effective prevention, foot self-care, and the significance of looking out out for prompt help for foot wounds. Delivered on mobile telephones, WellFeet presents the capacity for a scalable and rate-effective intervention.

Project major investigator Partner Professor Andy Ho Hau Yan, Head of Psychology at the College of Social Sciences and Joint Partner Professor at NTU’s Lee Kong Chian College of Remedy (LKCMedicine), whose examine centers on psychosocial gerontology, acknowledged, “WellFeet displays our commitment to addressing the atypical needs of patients and caregivers in concern of or going by DFUs.”

“WellFeet goes beyond weak approaches by handing over a DFU-particular practicing program, aiming to improve health literacy and instigate habits change for the prevention and care of diabetic foot ulcers. It’s a purposeful and empowering tool tailored to get a large impact on the lives of participants going by diabetes in our neighborhood.”

WellFeet is an instance of how smartly-liked technologies will almost definitely be leveraged to train health care over mobile devices, tablets, PDAs, and computer programs, identified as mobile health or mHealth, and can provide payment-effective and scalable alternatives.

Space major investigator Dr. Liew Huiling, Endocrinologist at Tan Tock Seng Health center, acknowledged, “WellFeet stands as a testament to the transformative energy of digital training in diabetes affected person care—an inherently scalable and potentially payment-effective intervention with a confirmed song document of bettering health outcomes.”

“Through researching and pretty-tuning the app to match patients’ and their caregivers’ needs when it comes to day-to-day care, rapid regain correct of entry to to a wealth of barely curated footcare-associated recordsdata, WellFeet introduces an all-in-one monitoring machine that consolidates obligatory health facets in a single, particular person-pleasant interface.”

“As WellFeet might maybe perchance be rolled out as a free-to-exhaust app, it might maybe maybe perchance well now no longer easiest improve the scurry of diabetes administration nonetheless also get fling accessibility and ease for every and each patients and caregivers, ushering in a brand recent generation of entire and empowering health care.”

Giving an self satisfactory conception on WellFeet, podiatric surgeon Professor David Armstrong, Professor of Surgery at College of Southern California, U.S., and founder and co-chair of the World Diabetic Foot Conference, acknowledged, “With WellFeet, the NTU examine team is reaching of us at every point in care in diabetes, including managing their weight reduction blueprint and foot health, and meeting them where they’re.”

Credit: Nanyang Technological College

“WellFeet will miniature doubt get an big difference in weeding out preventable amputations and struggling now no longer easiest in Singapore nonetheless, I judge, worldwide.”

The query, which represents an are accessible in training and care for diabetes patients, displays NTU’s commitment to responding to the desires and challenges of healthy living and getting older, which is thought to be one of four humanity’s astronomical challenges that the College seeks to address by its NTU 2025 strategic notion.

Helping patients and caregivers set apart their easiest foot forward

WellFeet is on the market in English, Mandarin Chinese language, and Malay. It presents totally different personalization ranges, partaking customers by gamification with on daily basis initiatives and monitoring actions by on daily basis initiatives (detect video).

As effectively as to serving as a log and diary for patients and caregivers, doctors can customize affected person-particular exercise objectives and monitor their patients’ progress by reviewing diary entries.

The app also has a chatbot that helps patients in their scurry, fostering empathy by encouraging customers to realize and join with the experiences of others, comparable to health care services or fellow patients.

The chatbot also prompts self-reflection within customers, that can help them safe insight into their dangle thoughts and feelings, determine patterns or triggers, and get certain changes in their habits or mindset. It ought to also involve pondering how their actions impact themselves and others, as effectively as exploring their motivations and objectives for his or her health scurry.

Right by a one-month query with 40 individuals, which included patients and caregivers, each and each groups reported discovering WellFeet easy to exhaust and precious for health care regain correct of entry to. Patients appreciated its usability, navigation, and feedback, whereas caregivers stumbled on it magnificent and precious.

Certainly one of many patients who participated in the query, acknowledged, “Prior to bedtime, I test my toenails for any indicators of fungus. I exhaust a twig that I continuously defend at hand to defend my ft. Within the past, I feeble to clutch pleasure in reflexology or soak my ft in sizzling water, nonetheless now, with the records won from this app, I’ve learned better and no longer note those practices.”

One other query participant, a caregiver, acknowledged, “I’ve develop into extra concerned with managing my mother’s medications. Beforehand, I’d trudge away it to one other member of the family, nonetheless now I’m extra acutely conscious of the medication names, dosages, and their effects on her. I most regularly test in together with her, asking in regards to the explain medication and dosage she’s taking and the diagram it is impacting her.”

Following the feasibility assessments, the NTU-led examine team will pretty-tune the app by potentially integrating AI and human health coaching to render extra effectively timed and customized improve. There are plans to get the app accessible publicly later this three hundred and sixty five days.

Project Supervisor Dr. Anita Pienkowska, Learn Fellow at NTU’s LKCMedicine, acknowledged, “The team’s focal point is on crafting a WellFeet particular person experience for caregivers and patients that is now no longer easiest visually partaking nonetheless also intuitively functional. Above all, it is to train evidence-primarily based foot care training for true-existence habits change.”

“Prior to rolling out the app by mid-2024, we are meticulously refining the app, ensuring it aligns seamlessly with the desires of our customers. Our purpose is to get an accessible, particular person-pleasant platform that prioritizes the effectively-being of patients in Singapore.”

Dr. Liew added, “It be very dazzling to detect that we can have confidence an trusty impact on of us’s lives and that we can toughen health care services’ efforts in preventing and managing DFUs. WellFeet, serving as an extension of excessive-quality diabetes care in Singapore, is a fairly addition to the improve equipped to of us living with diabetes. Even miniature changes in on daily basis routines topic.”

Assoc Prof Ho added, “As we step into the prolonged elope, WellFeet is committed to broadening its impact by increasing its attain. Our vision entails participating with the MOH Diagram of job for Health care Transformation and discussions with capacity investors, ensuring that our modern app continues to be at the forefront of fostering certain health outcomes for plenty extra participants and communities.”

Researchers develop mobile app to help diabetic patients monitor foot health (2024, March 15)
retrieved 16 March 2024

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