The total cost (direct care and indirect costs) associated with diabetes in the UK currently stands at £23.7 billion and is predicted to rise to £39.8 billion by the year 2035.

Monitoring people with diabetes condition is crucial to prevent some of the long-term complications associated with it and that can affect eyes, bring heart conditions, kidneys and also affect nerves of feet. And so, there is a lot of enthusiasm amongst industries and patients to use digital tools. Smartphones are playing a key role in the digital revolution, a huge number of mobile apps like mySugr now offer support for diabetes management. These apps can advise someone on healthy eating, physical activity, self-monitoring of blood glucose or medication adherence. Another example are the insulin pumps, one of the tools that lots of medical devices companies offer these days. These pumps are small portable devices that deliver insulin continuously and it is possible to monitor blood glucose using its associated mobile app. Cellnovo System, the Accu-Check from Roche Diabetes Care or the MiniMed from Medtronic are examples of such devices.

The digital revolution in the diabetic world leads to improvements in the daily lives of people with diabetes. However, this fast-paced evolution of this industry makes me wonder if these companies are well aware of the accessibility of their services, websites, mobiles apps and hardware devices. The diversity among people with diabetes imposes a challenge to address the needs of each patient, not only due to their medical condition but also related to their age and their environment. Do these companies think about the 1,295,680 diabetic people that have retinopathy in the UK? These people may have a sight loss condition and may not be able to access many products and services that are currently on the market. Moreover, 27% of residents in older people care homes are likely to have diabetes. Can they use a computer and browse the internet and make good use of these digital services?

I have a call for action to all these great innovative companies. You must ask people with special needs to test your products and services before you bring them to market. Do not forget this giant pool of customers that won’t use your products if they are not accessible to them.

Juliette Piazza – Director of Access2Digital