Enhancing on Diabetes Technology (!)

If there’s one thing we here in the ‘Mine can get behind, it’s innovation in diabetes technology. In the end, Amy did launch the DiabetesMine Design Challenge four years ago after her popular Open Letter to Steve Jobs article was printed. So that’s why we’re excited to find that this month’s DSMA Website Carnival challenge is all about diabetes technology, particularly after spending months looking at all of the wonderful submissions for this year’s competition. We’ve got a great deal to say about diabetes technology (though, really, when do we not have a good deal to say about anything associated with diabetes) . Here are Allison and Amy’s respective answers to this month’s DSMA query:

What improvements or adjustments would you make to current technology?

Allison’s Answer:

If it comes to improvements to current diabetes technology, I must admit, I think about it mostly as a digital native. A few weeks back, I was giving a presentation on the “patient’s perspective” on wellbeing 2.0, and as an example, I kept up my insulin pump for the entire space (full of non-D people) and I said, “What does this look like?” One man in the front indicated, “A pager?”

“Right,” I answered. “And when was the last time you saw a pager? 1993?”

We are in the 21st century! Land of iPhones, laptops, flat-screen TVs, BlueRay players, and wireless net at 35,000 ft, and innercontectivity like never before. So why is it that the only thing I wear everyday appears like a bit of technology that about 1 percent of society actually uses? And would you know who uses them? Doctors!

When I look in current diabetes technology, my main beef with it is that it doesn’t look contemporary. It appears old. It doesn’t fit in that I use. It doesn’t fit in with the joys of my life, and that makes it uncomfortable to use. It’s clunky and outdated, and it makes it unappealing. Logically I know that an insulin pump is my very best opportunity for living a healthy life. But additionally, it seems plausible that medical device companies would like it to be as appealing yet practical (like an iPhone, by way of example) as they can to help people be more inclined to utilize it to its whole benefit. We are in an era of the slick, of the camera, of the wireless transmission. If medical device manufacturers don’t keep up with customer demands, they may find it hard to survive in the age of “digital natives” like me!

Clearly, improving on diabetes technology is a personal passion for me. Even with all the DiabetesMine Design Challenge gaining nationwide focus, it never stops to amaze me the way that technology- and – clinically-driven the design of many our wellbeing apparatus remain.

About the Expo show floor of the year’s ADA Conference, I spent a while looking around with Brennan Cassidy of the sport group Insulindepence. As two adults with Type 1, we had some very practical questions for some of the device-makers, who seemed surprised that we desired to know things like: “What would you do when the 10-test cartridge runs out, and you also don’t happen to have a spare drum?” Or “Why isn’t there a container included to maintain the test strips that are used?”

After a couple of minutes, Brennan researched the display hall, and looked at me and said: “You know what is wrong with all of this stuff? It was not made by diabetics!

It’s a personal passion of mine to receive patients¬†— the men and women who live with this particular technology day in and day out — more integrally involved the conceptualization and design of the substance. To this end, we’ll be hosting a Diabetes Innovation Summit event on Stanford campus in the fall, bringing together a selection of individual advocates, entrepreneurs, design specialists, and pharma business leaders from the marketing, R&D, regulatory and legal industries to explore new ways to achieve genuinely “patient-centered” solutions.

Here are the tenets of what I believe to be required to enhance diabetes technology as it stands now:

Aesthetics – many of the stuff has a long way to go to quantify up to Apple products, for example. I was amazed at how angular and plain some of the newest pump designs were that were revealed in ADA this year.

Life Functionality Рany medical device designer should ask him or herself: would I want to wear this thing stuck to my belly 24 hours a day? Does it pinch when I lean over? Beep me awake all night with unpleasant alarm tones?   Or fit into a pocket or belt clip holder without making me look like an idiot? Etc..

Interoperability – for God’s sake, the data is of no use unless it could be shared. Why do you think Google, Facebook, Twitter and other sharing-based technology have been so wildly profitable? And people’s lives don’t depend on most of the stuff shared there. In the current Roche Social Media Summit, we practically begged JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer to push the diabetes industry on interoperability criteria (well I did, anyway). That is what’s going to make new closed-loop and cellular apps really viable possibilities for individual use.

In case you Want some inspiration on Point #3, Business Folk, allow me to reevaluate the Diabetic Data Cloud entrance from the 2009 DiabetesMine Design Challenge:

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For additional information click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog concentrated on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and doesn’t adhere to Healthline’s editorial instructions. To learn more regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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