Smartphone-based remote monitoring system for pregnancy-related
diabetes wins prize
20 November 2014
A system for remote monitoring of mothers with pregnancy-related
diabetes using a smartphone and wireless-enabled blood glucose meter has won the Best Digital Initiative trophy in the Quality in
Care Diabetes Awards.
The system, which was developed by Institute of Biomedical
Engineering at Oxford University, consists of a smartphone app for
the patient linked to a wireless-enabled blood glucose meter and a
central computer system for the healthcare team for data and patient
The conventional treatment for diabetes in pregnancy — called
gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) — is for the patient to manage and record
her blood glucose levels up to six times a day and have her
medication dose adjusted at fortnightly check-ups in hospital.
With the new technology, the
patient tags the blood glucose readings sent to the phone by the
blood glucose meter and enters her insulin dose, if appropriate. The data is sent
to the care team's computer system for monitoring and the patient receives
feedback on her phone in the form of summaries of blood glucose
data, as well as prompts and reminders, as appropriate.
The care team can view the blood glucose results online in real time
and can institute an intervention in between clinic visits, such as
increasing the insulin dose. Algorithms on the server track the
trends in the blood glucose readings and the diabetes midwives are
automatically notified if their patients have a number of readings
outside the target zone.
The system allows remote monitoring of the patients and delivery of
care, faster communication between members of the care team and
improved workflows, while reducing the number of tiring,
time-consuming hospital appointments.
Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering
at Oxford University and lead researcher, said, “Our digital health
work has now been shown to be clinically
useful. This outcome has only been possible because of the
partnership between engineers and clinicians that exists in Oxford”.
Dr Lucy Mackillop, clinical researcher on the project and
Consultant Obstetric Physician based at the John Radcliffe Women’s
Centre, said, “This is a fantastic accolade and an excellent example
of innovative and successful collaboration between the university
and hospital. It is also a fabulous boost for our wonderful team and
all their hard work.”
The system was trialled at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
with 50 patients and is now being introduced at other hospitals with
the help of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network. A full
randomised trial is also under way with two hundred women and
results are expected to be published next year.
The Institute of Biomedical Engineering project summary: