The 15th December 2010 was a day to remember in the development of My Diabetes My Way. During a winter of one of the heaviest snowfalls in living memory (until February 2021!), the development team had been working hard to put the finishing touches on an important new feature for the service. While information resources and interactive content had been available from October 2008, we planned a significant step forward by allowing people to “know their numbers” and provide information to help understand them.
The development of My Diabetes My Way began in 2006. I had not long taken over as Technical Lead for SCI-Diabetes, Scotland’s electronic medical record for diabetes. This was a platform that consolidated diabetes data from GP records, hospital clinic systems, laboratories and specialist screening services to provide one overall view on an individual’s diabetes care. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) across Scotland had been making use of this for several years and complete national coverage had been reached by this time.
The Scottish Diabetes Group had just announced its “Scottish Diabetes Action Plan” and one of the key objectives was to involve improved communication with patients and they were inviting proposals from healthcare teams to support this. Encouraged by Dr Alistair Emslie-Smith, Clinical Lead for SCI-Diabetes, the first funding proposal was created and subsequently funded, meaning that the plan was set for sharing data with patients.
At the time, the Scottish Diabetes Group had a Patient-focused Implementation Group, consisting and led by people living with diabetes and the parents of young people with the condition in Scotland. They helped us design the presentation of information and the types of data that should be shown. Ross Kerr was chair of the group during the early years and recently sent me the following:
“I am absolutely delighted to read of the successes in hitting all the original goals that were set out. Things like “knowing the numbers”, “being bettered prepared for meetings with HCPs”, “ having much more meaningful discussions with HCP” are exactly the points that as a patient I was keen to develop and it is good that not only patients who are pleased with the result but also HCPs. When it came to developing the technical side of things with computers, I had a completely different role. I made it clear that I was useless at computer technology and Scott pounced on this and said “well if Ross understands it then most people will”. It has been a fantastic achievement with many awards picked up along the way. Many congratulations on your hard work and achievements. A huge step in the understanding and control of diabetes. Thank you.”
While there have been challenges along the way, over the last ten years we have been able to demonstrate that people using My Diabetes My Way have shown improvements in routinely collected results such as HbA1c, weight and blood pressure. These changes ultimately lead to improved health outcomes. Results of surveys have also shown that people feel more knowledgeable about their diabetes and motivated to make positive changes. Healthcare professionals also inform us that this has contributed to more productive and constructive consultations.
The clinical input we have received over the years has been a significant reason for the success of My Diabetes My Way. During the formative years, Dr James Walker at St John’s Hospital in Livingston was greatly influential in driving forward the objectives of the programme. He had been a pioneer in allowing patients access to their records by sending his patients copies of letters sent to GPs that showed latest test results, discussion during the consultation and agreed actions. I met Dr Debbie Wake for the first time 2008 and since then, she has been a driving force in the development of the service in Scotland, and more recently across a significant part of England where the service continues to expand.
Professor Brian Kennon is the National Lead for Diabetes in Scotland:
“My Diabetes My Way (MDMW) is an integral part of diabetes care in Scotland and has been for a number of years. The ongoing COVID crisis has highlighted the importance of adapting care models to ensure we can still support individuals with diabetes at this challenging time. As such MDMW is a key component of our evolving person-centred care models. We are in the fortunate position whereby MDMW allows persons with diabetes to access their results in advance of their consultation. This is a key component to shared decision making and person centred care planning, both of which are vital components to improving the quality of a consultation and improving outcomes. In addition, MDMW offers a wealth of educational resources and signposting to other services both of which are vital as we offer more virtual care and support.”
In February 2021, we reached the milestone of 30,000 people logging in to access their diabetes data. We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in supporting and raising awareness of My Diabetes My Way and for your support over the last ten years!
Dr Scott Cunningham
My Diabetes My Way Programme Lead
The My Diabetes My Way Team also includes:
Dr Debbie Wake, Consultant Diabetologist; Lyn Wilson, Diabetes Specialist Nurse; Brian Allardice, Software Developer; Daniel Little, Administration and User Support