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UHCW launches digital support tool for weight management patients

A new digital support tool that can help patients hit self-selected health goals and clinically meaningful weight loss has been launched by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust.

W8Buddy (WeightBuddy) has been specifically developed for NHS Tier three weight management services.

Tier three represents the specialist obesity service comprising of dietitians, specialist doctors, psychologists and surgeons.

The platform can be accessed via phone or desktop and provides users with a personalised weight management plan to develop attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and skills to self-manage their health.

Dr Petra Hanson, National Institute for Health Research Clinical Lecturer in Diabetes and Endocrinology, led the project on behalf of UHCW and was highly commended for her work at the NHS England Digital and Data Awards.

She said: “This is an incredibly exciting innovation that will transform the way we deliver care.

“W8Buddy was not only inspired by our patients, but also co-created with our patients alongside the clinical team in a truly unique collaboration. We hope this new digital support tool empowers our patients and leads to meaningful health improvements.”

Key features include education, behavioural change activities or resources, meal and exercise logging and coaching to support lifestyle modifications including diet, improving physical activity, quitting smoking and losing weight.

The platform is available in 12 languages and has a dashboard that clinicians can access to assess real-time progress.

Each person’s experience is tailored to their goal, accessibility and literacy needs, language, disease profile, ethnicity, age, gender and location.

Patient advocate Richard Green helped the team develop the tool from a patient’s perspective.

He said: “This is our link into the specialists that have spent many lifetimes learning and developing what actually works.

“My background in IT and the fact that I am a type two diabetic patient who’d struggled with my weight hopefully helped the team understand what it was like to have tried lots of weight loss programmes and failed.

“W8Buddy is a game-changer, it speeds up every element of the pathway meaning countless more patients can be helped.”

W8Buddy is a bespoke version of Gro Health, the highest-rated health app in the UK, and has been developed by DDM Health, providers of NHS-trusted digital technologies.

Charlotte Summers, founding Chief Operations Officer at DDM Health said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to empower patients to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss with our AI-powered precision digital health platform.”

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