Keeping In Touch
KIT is a text message-based chatbot tool to provide educational and care navigation support for young adults with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). KIT is currently being trialled by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the McGill University Health Centre at four sites in Ontario and two sites in Quebec.
What is KIT?
KIT is a text message-based tool that aims to support adolescents and young adults aged 17-19 years, living with T1D during their transition from pediatric to adult care. Over 50 assessment interviews and three co-design workshops were conducted with adolescents and young adults living with T1D and with pediatric and adult T1D care providers to understand the barriers and opportunities to transition to adult care to inform the development of KIT. The KIT chatbot tool provides educational and care navigation support for adolescents and young adults. Currently, a randomized control trial is being conducted to implement and evaluate the impact of the chatbot on patient-level diabetes management and transition readiness. This trial will include 212 trial participants from 6 pediatric diabetes clinics across Ontario and Quebec from January 2022 to June 2025.
The KIT Chatbot features:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an auto-immune condition that occurs when an individual cannot produce insulin and generally develops during childhood and adolescence. In Canada approximately 1/300 people aged 1 – 19 years has type 1 diabetes. Since T1D is diagnosed in childhood, there is an increased risk of long term complications at earlier ages. As well, more frequent emergency department admission and hospitalizations, decreased quality of life and increased mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. (Diabetes in Canada: Facts and figures from a public health perspective)
When people living with T1D turn 18, they must transition from a pediatric to an adult clinic. During this transition, people with T1D face many challenges, such as assuming independent care for diabetes, working with new adult providers, overcoming psychosocial issues and maintaining work-life balance. As a result, individuals with T1D transitioning into adult care do not meet the treatment targets for managing their blood sugar levels. They are also at greater risk for experiencing a gap in establishing adult care and developing life-threatening complications.
KIT aims to address the existing barriers during the transition period to better support young adults living through T1D through:
KIT was developed with the University Health Network (UHN), Centre for Digital Therapeutics and SickKids, in partnership with individuals with lived experiences of TD1 and TD1 care providers.