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Metabolic Support UK: Your rare condition. Our common fight.

A new App to support young adults living with Inherited Metabolic Disorders has been developed with help from students at the University of Chester.

Metabolic Support UK has worked with a group of students from the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering to design a resource to support young adults living with Inherited Metabolic Disorders (IMD) and enable them to navigate the transition from paediatric to adult services. It has also been designed to empower young adults to take control of their condition, by tracking symptoms, recording food intake (dietary management) and manage their appointments.

There are more than 500 Inherited Metabolic Disorders and Metabolic Support UK has a video here which details them.

The App was completed by a group of Computer Science and Software Engineering students as part of their studies. As part of the Experiential Learning module students complete a five week group project for a local business or organisation. The group worked closely with Metabolic Support UK to meet the company’s requirements and provide regular updates. Staff from the University’s Informatics Centre (a development team based within the Department of Computer Science, Electronics and Electrical Engineering) act as mentors for these student project groups, providing technical help and guidance.

Users input their information into My Meta App selecting how much they wish to share with the charity. A calendar function encourages the user to record condition related appointments and events so that they are reminded to attend, with a handy camera access feature that allows the user to upload pictures of appointment letters to store for future reference.

Many IMDs are managed by diet and medication and the app allows users to track their diet and record their daily food intake to ensure they are following the plan specially advised by their dietician.

The idea for the app was created by Metabolic Support UK to engage and support young people living with Inherited Metabolic Disorders. After undertaking a 12 month scoping exercise with young people and metabolic professionals, the theme of transitioning from paediatric services to adult services was highlighted as an issue and the Charity’s Young Person’s Project Officer, designed the My Meta App concept, using research she had gathered and her own experiences of living with an IMD.

The free App is available internationally and is free to use on both iOS and Android. It has been designed so that the user remains in control of the data they wish to share with the App and if they wish to share that information with their healthcare professional.

James Flower, Lead Developer at the University’s Informatics Centre, said: “Throughout their Experiential Learning module, students have the opportunity to put the skills they have been learning as part of their studies into practice and to liaise with a client, providing them with valuable experience of communicating with both technical and non-technical stakeholders.

“We were very impressed by the work the students produced on the My Meta App project and the dedication they demonstrated by delivering to such tight timescales. They managed to produce a fully-featured final product which could be published to the iOS and Android App stores.”

Jess Doyle, Head of Service Delivery at Metabolic Support UK, said: “Metabolic Support UK is really pleased with the App, it’s interface, functions and the additional support it will provide to the young people we support. The University and students were crucial in the building, developing and publication of the App. As a small patient organisation, our funding is often limited, therefore we did not anticipate bringing the App to market so soon. Its swift production is due to the hard work and efforts of the students and the University and we can’t thank them enough.

“We were really impressed with all the students that took part in the project. They were professional, knowledgeable and able to guide us in many areas such as design. We are sure that as the App is downloaded and used, there will be adaptations and other functions to add and we look forward to working with the University in the future.”

  • New clients with proposals for Experiential Learning projects are always welcome. If you are a business or organisation that could provide a five-week unpaid virtual placement on a software development project idea for a small group of students, please contact Pauline Morton for further information.
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