At the 46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos on the 22nd of January, NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, announced the first wave of NHS Innovation Test Beds. These collaborations between the NHS and innovators aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service.


One of the best innovations to come out of these collaborations has to be the Diabetes Digital Coach, created by KiActiv® and led by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN). The Digital Diabetes Coach demonstrates how the use of personalised physical activity in a free-living environment can improve diabetes management.


Today’s announcement coincides with a report by the Public Accounts Committee criticising the Department of Health and the NHS in England for being “too slow” to act in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.


More than 3 million people in England currently diagnosed with diabetes and this number continues to grow by almost 5 per cent every year, as does the number of diabetes-related complications that need treatment. With the cost of diabetes currently standing at £5.5 billion a year, something needs to be done and it needs to be done now.


The Diabetes Digital Coach is perfectly placed to meet this need – enabling people with diabetes to take control of their own health, significantly benefiting patients and cutting healthcare costs.


Physical activity is fundamental to the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes – research shows that it should be prescribed by a healthcare professional at initial diagnosis, before medications (Nathan et al., 2009), and continue throughout the management of the condition (Duclos et al., 2015; Andrews et al., 2011).


KiActiv® powers the effective prescription of free-living physical activity for the prevention and treatment of disease. Their digital medicine is natural, safe and accessible to everyone. As part of the Diabetes Digital Coach, KiActiv® will enable individuals to self-manage their condition more effectively and empower sustainable physical activity behaviour change through improved access, engagement, motivation, and understanding.