bant iPhone app to help teens manage Type 1 Diabetes

UHN, SickKids, Saint Elizabeth and TELUS launch program to measure effectiveness of bant and TELUS health space in improving treatment compliance and monitoring in teens

TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - bant, an iPhone based application to help adolescents improve diabetes self-management by capturing, analyzing, and sharing their blood glucose data, is being tested by teenagers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Diabetes Clinic in Toronto. The pilot program will assess the impact that social networking and rewards that encourage and reinforce self-management behaviours have on young teens as they become more independent in managing their diabetes. The pilot will run for three months.

bant was developed by University Health Network (UHN) in collaboration with SickKids and with input from patients, families, doctors, nurses and engineers. The multidisciplinary teams from SickKids' Diabetes Clinic and Division of Adolescent Medicine worked closely with colleagues at UHN to design the application. bant is partially funded by the Saint Elizabeth Health Care ACT research grant program.

People with type 1 diabetes need to maintain their blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible to decrease diabetes-related complications, such as kidney and heart disease.  Optimal blood glucose is very hard to achieve; requiring frequent measurement of levels, detailed analysis of the results, and continued adjustments of the treatment plan.

"Diabetes management is complex and even more difficult during adolescence when individuals are more interested in fitting in with their peers than in testing their blood glucose levels on a regular basis," explained Dr. Joseph Cafazzo, Lead, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at University Health Network. "These kids are already primed to use smartphones in their daily routine so using the iPhone for diabetes management has the potential to improve testing adherence and provide a sense of comfort for parents and caregivers."

A free version of bant is already available in 10 languages at the Apple App Store. An advanced version of the application has been developed for use in the pilot which will use a LifeScan OneTouch Mini blood glucose meter to collect and wirelessly transfer readings directly into bant using a Bluetooth adapter developed by the UHN team. The data are then displayed and organized visually. Teens can customize the tool to categorize readings according to their activities and daily schedule to enable accurate decision-making and medication adjustments. They will also be able to share their experiences in a private social network within the app and earn experience points leading to rewards in the form of iTunes redemption codes to purchase music and other apps. bant is integrated with TELUS health space, Powered by Microsoft HealthVault, giving pilot participants the ability to store, review, and control the sharing of their personal health information with their care team and family members. 

"TELUS is proud to be a part of this exceptional pilot project. Juvenile diabetes affects 200,000 Canadians, with Canada having the third highest rate in the world amongst children under the age of 15," said Paul Lepage, senior vice president, TELUS Health Solutions. "This application and use is another demonstration of the power of TELUS health space to positively change care delivery for patients with chronic diseases."

Dr. Mark Palmert, Head of the Division of Endocrinology and Senior Associate Scientist at SickKids said, "There are many blood glucose meters and web-based applications that allow patients to view their blood glucose data. bant is different from these tools because it also includes analysis tools, data sharing options, and other innovations that are designed to change behaviours and, we hope, improve diabetes management."

Nancy Lefebre, Senior VP Knowledge and Practice at Saint Elizabeth Health Care said, "bant is a wonderful example of a point-of-care application that is the focus of our grant program. bant is exciting because it empowers children and gives them more control over their health experience."

About University Health Network and Centre for Global eHealth Innovation

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Supporting the University Health Network (UHN)'s vision of global impact and exemplary patient care, The Centre for Global eHealth Innovation is a joint effort of UHN and the University of Toronto and was built with funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Innovation Trust.  It is a place where human, physical and virtual resources come together to develop and evaluate eHealth innovations, using the expertise of leaders in the social sciences, technology and health fields. Using the Centre's state-of-the-art facilities and resources, we are able to engage in collaborative, transdisciplinary efforts, crossing institutional, political, cultural and geographic boundaries.

About The Hospital for Sick Children

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world's foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada's leading centre dedicated to advancing children's health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada's most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca.

About Saint Elizabeth Health Care

Saint Elizabeth Health Care has been a trusted name in Canadian health care for more than a century. A leader in the development and implementation of integrated healthcare solutions, Saint Elizabeth is also an award-winning not-for-profit and charitable organization. Our dynamic talent team of more than 4,500 nurses, rehab therapists and personal support workers deliver over 3.8 million health care visits annually. Our staff are backed by a 24/7 best-practice clinical support network and work in a variety of home and community care settings. Collaboration and client-focused care are hallmarks of our values-driven culture.

About TELUS Health Solutions

TELUS Health Solutions is a leader in telehealth, electronic health records, remote patient monitoring, mobile home and community care, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. Our solutions give health authorities, providers, primary care physicians, patients and consumers the power to enhance decision making and improve outcomes for Canadians. TELUS Health Solutions is transforming how information is used across the continuum of care from hospital to home with solutions that foster collaboration, drive prevention and empower care teams and patients. TELUS Health Solutions is Canada's leading Healthcare IT Company as cited by the Branham Group for the last three years and for being honoured as the ITAC Health Company of the Year (2008) and Health Transformation Company of the Year (2009). For more information about TELUS Health Solutions, please visit www.telushealth.com and www.telushealthspace.com.

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $9.7 billion of annual revenue and 12.1 million customer connections including 6.9 million wireless subscribers, 3.8 million wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers and 266,000 TELUS TV customers. Led since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video.

In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed $211 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 3.7 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead TELUS' local philanthropic initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.

SOURCE TELUS Corporation

For further information:

Janice Murray
TELUS Health Solutions
(416) 487-5007
Janice.murray@telus.com

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