People living in Skye, Lochaber, Wester Ross or Mid-Highland who have foot ulcers related to diabetes are being recruited to take part in a ten-week study into the use of technology to help improve diabetic healthcare in the region.
The project is called RAPID (Reducing Amputation in People with Diabetes). It was developed in response to efforts by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to identify healthcare projects that will bring social and economic benefits to the region.
HIE is supporting the initiative, which is being led by a partnership of University of the Highlands and Islands, NHS Highland and Moray based firm Tactical Wireless Ltd.
RAPID will trial the use of technology, developed by Tactical Wireless Ltd in conjunction with Professor Sandra MacRury and her team at the University of the Highlands and Islands. The aim is to improve early detection, regular monitoring, timely intervention and treatment of diabetes-related foot ulcers, and potentially help reduce the rate of lower limb amputations.
The project was initiated in 2014 after Forres based firm Tactical Wireless Ltd developed its award winning Omni-Hub™ technology to transmit data in real time from remote locations with poor digital and/or telecommunications connectivity. It is anticipated that the service will ultimately be rolled out across the Highlands to all people living with diabetes and suffering from foot ulcers.
Professor MacRury said: "We must reduce the number of amputations in people with diabetes. Omni-Hub has emerged at exactly the right time to compliment the new foot ulcer pathway developed through the University of the Highlands and Islands and NHS Highland. The collaboration has the potential for great impact locally and beyond."
Peter Morton, chairman of Tactical Wireless Ltd, said: “Given the support from HIE and the cooperation with the University of the Highlands and Islands and NHS Highland, it was an honour to be selected to provide technology that can and will provide the opportunity to support home consultations for patients suffering from diabetic ulcers and potentially other chronic illnesses, who live in remote and poorly connected rural areas of Scotland.”
The project has been shortlisted in the Scottish Enterprise Life Science Awards after being nominated by HIE. James Cameron, HIE’s head of life sciences, said: “This is a very exciting example of the wider growth in life sciences in the Highlands and Islands and some of the innovative approaches being taken across the sector. This particular initiative could benefit huge numbers of people across the region. It could help strengthen community resilience through further confidence in remote health care provision. The approach may also be of interest to other parts of the UK and further afield where provision of remote health care is a challenge because of geography or connectivity. We are delighted to be able to provide support and look forward to the results of the trial.”