A range of wearable medical devices already exists to help manage type 1 diabetes, which can be a challenging condition to live with.
However, only a small percentage of those living with the condition in the UK use these more technology-based treatments.
And currently, just 30% of people with type 1 diabetes reach their recommended blood glucose targets, putting them at greater risk of health complications.
People with type 1 diabetes who use medical technologies may find it easier to manage their glucose levels and thereby reduce these health risks.
JDRF commissioned market research to understand the motivations and barriers people with type 1 diabetes face in making treatment choices.
The findings of our Pathway to Choice report, launched in February 2020, will enable us to explore the types of support and interventions we can develop to help people living with type 1 diabetes choose the best possible treatments.
The market research also highlighted areas in which government, the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS can improve support for people living with this life-changing condition.
The Pathway to Choice partnership
Pathway to Choice is a partnership programme led by JDRF and supported by industry partners Abbott Diabetes Care, Dexcom, Insulet International Ltd and Roche Diabetes Care Ltd.
The aim of the programme is to build awareness of and access to type 1 technology choices for people with type 1 diabetes. It does this through building insight to influence health decision-makers, increasing understanding of technologies among people with type 1 diabetes and raising public awareness of type 1 diabetes and its treatment.
Sarah’s type 1 diabetes technology story
Sarah’s journey towards getting access to type 1 diabetes technology was a long one.
I took part in an early insulin pump trial in the US when I was 15. The 80s was a very different time; the pumps were about four times the size they are today!
I am privileged to have been involved in many trials over the years and it is incredible to see how far research has come in a short time. I was once on a trial with a primitive insulin pump so the fact we’re now starting to see closed-loop insulin delivery systems come to market is a testament to the fact that research is the only way forward. I am excited to have played my part in it.
Looking back on it today, the technology then was very basic but even that gave me so much more freedom. If I wanted to eat a snack with my friends outside my usual meal times, I could! Cross country running for the high school team became so much simpler with fewer hypos.
I am inspired to think of the people who have committed their careers to helping people like me. Thinking about their drive and motivation reminds me of the light at the end of the tunnel – it’s a powerful feeling. The rate at which research has progressed since I was diagnosed leaves me excited for the future.
Maureen’s type 1 diabetes technology story
“I was diagnosed in 1990 and for the first 20 years, my diabetes care wasn’t great. For years, I didn’t get to see the consultant, nor saw the same doctor twice, so didn’t really get anything out of these annual appointments and thought about having my GP manage my care.
“In 2010 the idea of insulin pumps was put to me in such a negative light that I didn’t even consider one. Then in 2013, I met a number of people talking about them more positively, so much so that in April 2014 I went back to my consultant and asked for one – his reaction however was that my condition was not bad enough to warrant one on the NHS.
“Luckily someone I knew helped me get an appointment at a different clinic and I was told straight away I could have a pump because I lived alone, experienced significant blood glucose variability and had a fear of hypoglycemia.
“The fact that these other, more holistic factors were considered made all the difference and the flexibility a pump has given me has now changed my life.
“My new, proactive and forward-thinking team also gave me access to Facebook groups that I hadn’t come across before, which meant I was now in touch with online communities for the first time.
“There needs to be more awareness of the research and the improvements that technology can bring to type 1 care.
“There is an impression that tech is for certain types of people but I think the technology can be massively transformational for anyone. A year after my pump, the nurse admitted to me that her first impression was that I wouldn’t get on too well with one.
“If I hadn’t been able to get the pump I would have continued to become more and more disengaged – that was the path that I was on. Now I feel part of a community, which is a massive support.”