National Physical Laboratory

Device development for early detection of diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers

For some people with diabetes, a foot ulcer can lead to amputation.  Less serious foot ulcers can still take a long time to heal and be very uncomfortable.  Good foot care and an awareness of symptoms such as reduced feeling, alongside regular health checks can help with avoiding foot ulcers.

The National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK national institute for metrology standards. It has a national remit for the delivery of measurement standards and for the development and delivery of measurement related technologies, support, and training to enhance UK industry and quality of life.

NPL were interested in developing a consumer device that would help those living with diabetes to detect the development of ulcers at an early stage.  A similar device had already been developed for use by professionals.

Our work

NPL commissioned Evolving Communities Consultancy to help them explore the attitudes of potential consumers around device development for the early detection of diabetic foot ulcers.

We worked with NPL to design a survey to capture views about the device.  The survey also examined people’s demographics, their knowledge of the risk factors associated with the development of diabetic foot ulcers, and their attitudes towards the transfer of health-related information via the internet.  In addition to the survey, we visited several local groups for people with diabetes to show concept devices and gather views on usability and cost options.

We promoted the project via a range of online and offline communications channels to ensure we reached and engaged with relevant stakeholder groups.

Our final project report presented feedback from the focus groups and the survey, including common themes, issues and recommendations for development and improvement.

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