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User evaluation of a home-monitoring kit for patients with diabetes

Funding from North Staffordshire Medical Institute £11,000

Lead Applicant: Kathryn Ford
Host Institution: University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Project summary 

Patients with diabetes receive regular health monitoring checks to help manage their condition.  Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a blood test which is used as the main marker of diabetes control.  National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines suggest HbA1c should be tested every 3-6 months. However, over half of all HbA1c blood samples received at UHNM have been shown to be outside of this timeframe.  This sub-optimal monitoring is associated with poorer diabetes control and reduced likelihood of achieving treatment target levels. 


To address this problem, the UHNM Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory Research Team looked to optimise testing frequency by reducing the inconvenience of attending blood test appointments. This was done through the utilisation of a dried blood spot (DBS) sample, which can be collected by the patient, at home, and then posted back to the laboratory for measurement of HbA1c. The DBS HbA1c result is comparable to the usual liquid blood result from the same patient.   


Aim:  To co-develop and evaluate a home-collection kit for HbA1c. 

Plan: We will work alongside people with diabetes to develop the DBS collection kit and then run a pilot study, whereby patients with diabetes will collect DBS samples at home and post them to the laboratory for analysis. They will complete a questionnaire to gather feedback on HbA1c monitoring and the acceptability of the home-collection kit.


This 2 year project (3 months study set-up, 9 months kit development, 6 months data collection, 4 months analysis and write up) will lead to a home-collection kit that aims to: 


  • Optimise the testing frequency of patients  
  • Improve patient convenience  
  • Empower patients to self-manage their condition 
  • Reduce the need for hospital appointments