Rapid test site works with global tech firms to tackle Plymouth's diabetes challenge

Rapid test site works with global tech firms to tackle Plymouth's diabetes challenge

One of the Primary Care Home rapid test sites Beacon Medical Group in Plymouth is working with world-leading innovators to tackle local health problems.

Beacon – one of the largest practices in Plymouth serving more than 30,000 patients at five GP surgeries – is working with global names in the creative and technology sectors to tackle diabetes, one of the city’s most pressing health problems.

Having submitted a brief outlining Plymouth’s diabetic problem to Ogilvy UK, a global advertising and marketing agency, and IBM, a global technology company, Beacon Medical Group was selected to attend a three-day hackathon in London alongside Boots and Nestle.

A hackathon aims to bring people with different backgrounds, skills and experience together to develop practical solutions to a problem.

Claire Oatway, Chief Operating Officer at Beacon Medical Group, said: “The brief we submitted asks the hacks to look at how we ensure people know their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also how to encourage those most at risk to adopt a preventative healthy lifestyle to remove the threat of the disease.

“The ever-increasing prevalence of prediabetes, also commonly referred to as borderline diabetes, is of huge concern to us as it carries large scale implications towards the future burden on healthcare. Between 2003 and 2011, the prevalence of prediabetes in England alone more than tripled, with 35 per cent of the adult population having prediabetes. For Plymouth that is roughly 70,000 people who are at risk.

“The good news is that cases of prediabetes that are identified early on can be reversed, preventing them from progressing into full-blown type 2 diabetes. But we need new ideas to tackle the problem and that is why being invited to work with world-leading minds on how to solve this challenge is extremely exciting.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for healthcare professionals and creative and digital innovators to hot-house ideas to bring about real-life change for our patients and public. We are looking forward to seeing what they come up with.”

The hackathon is taking place from 17th – 19th May and is one of the first times in the UK a creative agency and cutting-edge technology company has come together to provide creative solutions to clients’ challenges. The teams will use the innovative IBM Watson tool, a question answering computer system which has similar thought processes to a human, to address the brief put to them by Beacon, as well as from Boots and Nestlé.

Beacon Medical Group was selected as a rapid test site for the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) Primary Care Programme in December 2015. The programme has since expanded to 169 sites across England, serving seven million patients, 12 per cent of the population.

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