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Southampton hospital trials remote screening for diabetes risk in expectant mothers


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Woman using the GTT@Home app
Image source: Digostics

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (USH) has begun pilots of a new remote testing technology for screening of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in expectant mothers.

Under a partnership with technology provider Digostics it has ran a first phase pilot of the GTT @home service last November and is now preparing to begin a four-week second phase, handling higher volumes and designed to prove the overall effectiveness of the service.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, up to 20% of UK pregnancies are impacted by GDM, with background risk factors including age, ethnicity and body mass index. Left undiagnosed it can lead to perinatal complications and the development of type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

The service involves a test device, glucose drink and finger pickers being sent to the expectant mother, who can carry it out at home with online guidance and telephone support, then scan a snap-off fob attached to the device with a smartphone using the GTT @home mobile app. This is enabled by near field communication within the device, although the patient can also post the fob to the hospital in a prepaid envelope.

A software platform enables the antenatal care team to schedule tests and view patient results.

Dramatic change

Dr Matthew Coleman, consultant obstetrician at UHS, said: “We hope this revolutionary new at-home test is going to dramatically change the way we deliver gestational diabetes testing during antenatal care. Not only is it better for patients to self-test in the convenience of their own home, cutting down the number of antenatal appointments they attend, but it will also free up precious NHS time and resources.”

He added: “Patients are able to test at the earlier opportunity, meaning fewer delays and, if gestational diabetes is detected, they can be treated and managed quickly to keep them and their babies safe.”

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