Musgrove Park Hospital has won a national award for an innovative new obesity app.
The award for best practice across the UK was presented by the Association for the Study of Obesity at their annual UK Congress on Obesity.
The app was developed with University College London (UCL) students, as part of their computer science degree, for patients receiving weight management treatment at the hospital and will be available for patients to use next year.
Musgrove has the largest weight management service in the South West, with around 30 new referrals from GPs from across the entire South West region every month.
It is a ‘centre of excellence’ in metabolic and bariatric (obesity) surgery, one of only two European centres to achieve this status.
Once a GP has referred a patient for weight management treatment, they will be invited to download the app on their mobile to answer a series of medical and dietary questions which in turn will help direct their care to the right health professional in the right order for their individual needs.
The app will also provide a link between patients and their clinicians to track their progress and manage their care remotely. Patients will be able to contact their clinician, track their weight and input other clinical information such as their blood sugar levels.
Dr Rhodri King, consultant in diabetes endocrinology, who helped lead the project explains
“Once the app is in use, we hope to reduce the waiting time between a referral from a patient’s GP to starting treatment with our service, especially as this is the time where patients are most motivated.
This app means that patients will see the most appropriate healthcare clinician from the outset and enable the service to develop so that patients with urgent and more specialist needs can be seen quickly and in dedicated clinics. This will allow us to grow our expertise and continue to deliver best patient care.”
Dr. Yun Fu, teaching fellow, who runs the UCL course on app design with Dr. Dean Mohamedally, principal teaching fellow, said
“Our students get to engage in real world problem-solving, and design proof of concept systems that Musgrove can take forward in development. By pairing clinicians with our students we have enabled processes to be improved and reflect our philosophy of designing healthcare systems that have interoperability, efficiency, and innovation at their core.”
If you are concerned about your weight, Dr King advises
“The first step should always be to visit your GP who will discuss your weight with you and offer support where needed.”