W8Buddy Project – Digital Support Tool for NHS Weight Management Services
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW), and DDM Health Limited have collaborated to develop an innovative digital platform called W8Buddy. The aim of the platform is to improve health outcomes of patients with diabetes, obesity, and other related chronic health conditions, accessible via phone or desktop. Users benefit from a personalised weight management plan to develop attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and skills to self-manage their health and this is underpinned by the patients having access to a supportive community.
W8Buddy has been developed for NHS Tier 3 Weight Management Services, but due to its initial success and positive feedback, currently (2023) the project is being extended into Tier 4 Weight Management Services – Bariatric Surgery.
The key objectives of the W8Buddy app were to:
- Improve the health outcomes of patients with obesity and/or chronic conditions.
- Provide support to encourage a healthy lifestyle and to create healthy habits.
- Develop a sustainable model for managing obesity and other chronic conditions.
- Build a relationship between patients, healthcare providers, and the wider community to promote health and wellbeing.
W8Buddy is supported by a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, including, weight management doctors, dieticians, psychologists, and physical activity specialists, who provide personalised guidance and support to patients.
The W8Buddy platform also includes a wide range of educational resources and tools, such as healthy eating/meal plans, exercise programs, coaching to support lifestyle modification and self-monitoring tools. This helps patients to stay on track and achieve the goals that are set. Each patient’s experience is tailored to their goal, accessibility, literacy needs, language, disease profile, ethnicity, age, gender, and location.
The platform can be accessed via phone or desktop and provides patients with a personalised weight management plan. This management plan then helps shape attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and skills on how a patient can self-manage their health. The platform is available in 12 different languages and has a dashboard that clinicians can access to assess real time progress.
The W8Buddy project has been successful in achieving a range of positive outcomes for patients and the broader NHS.
- Improved health outcomes of patients who participated in the W8Buddy program, particularly with weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other health markers.
- Increased social support with the wider community by allowing patients to connect and share their experiences with others who were also going through similar struggles.
- W8Buddy has helped strengthen the relationship between patients, healthcare providers and the community, thereby promoting healthy living beyond a hospital setting.
- W8Buddy is a sustainable and scalable model for weight management and related chronic conditions.
Due to the success of the program, the project is now progressing into its second phase with the addition of new content, opening the platform to those patients moving from Tier 3 to Tier 4 – Bariatric Surgery under the weight management service. As before, the content will be created by a multi-disciplinary team comprising dietitians, psychologists, and doctors.
How did MidTECH help?
MidTECH Innovations (partner of WMAHSN) supported UHCW to develop their W8Buddy platform, enabling the project to progress from concept through to a fully commercialised platform, with the right legal protections in place. The Trust relied upon assistance from MidTECH to help understand its legal rights around Intellectual Property, to facilitate commercial negotiations with DDM, and to draft the legal agreements safeguarding the UHCW’s interests, thereby ensuring the Trust received due recognition and financial returns from the market availability of the platform.
“The world of Intellectual Property can be tricky. We were fortunate that MidTECH could offer us their advice on how to navigate through its complexities, especially the legal agreements. During the time we worked together on this project, everyone at MidTECH was patient and supportive.” – said Emilia Olejniczak, the Innovation Facilitator.
“Their hard work and expertise can make any project a breeze.” – added Emilia.
For more information:
If you would like to find out more about W8Buddy, please email email@example.com