Open Source Diabetes Data Platform Under Development

This is a big deal! Asante Solutions, maker of the newest Snap insulin pump, only signed an arrangement to make its data protocols open and available via the new open-source Tidepool Platform. This implies that for the first time ever, a pump maker is moving straight to the cloud, committing to an open system which will enable users to unite their pump data with CGM data along with other documents, and see and share that data in any app they choose!

“Here is the first good example of a device maker admitting the closed proprietary system is not the right means to do it,” states Howard Appearance, CEO of Tidepool, whose work we have reported on extensively.

As our readers know, we at the ‘Mine have been advocating for open data and device interoperability for many decades today, and are delighted to report Asante and Tidepool made the connection for this revolutionary alliance at this season’s DiabetesMine Innovation Summit, in which Howard gave an incredible presentation on Tidepool’s mission and the work of different diabetes data and device entrepreneurs who we brought together for its DiabetesMine D-data ExChange event at Stanford the day before the Summit.

I encourage you all to read Asante CEO David Thrower’s blog post on this new arrangement, titled “The Data Is Yours,” in which he explains:

Tidepool has more work to do before this can be obtained, but we are very excited about the near future. After flashed users can find the data from the Snap Insulin Generator to the Tidepool platform, they can then use their data to fuel different apps and dashboards. Imagine a program which uses your own CGM data along with the data from the own Snap Insulin Pump to recommend an alteration to your typical breakfast which could better keep your morning BG in hands. Is not that the kind of integration which is likely to produce the managing of diabetes simpler? That’s only one example of the countless ways that we believe our partnership with Tidepool can make your life a little easier. That is our promise to those that use our pump. It’s also Tidepool’s devotion. After all, the data is yours…

We talked with both organizations for additional information on how and when this new open alternative will become accessible to curious PWDs.

“The thesis that underlies Asante is forcing to simplify management of diabetes to all parties — customers (PWDs), also endos and educators. One of these principals is Open Data. To the degree that you’ve got a closed ecosystem does not serve anyone’s best interest,” Thrower tells us.

He lays out the steps Asante is taking: developing a pump that is simple and user friendly, with super-fast “snap” prefilled-insulin-cartridge change, and “half as many steps for a bolus as Tandem and other pumps.” They then offer a pay-as-you-go program Ready Snap Pump(like Insulet’s pay model with the OmniPod) and a free four-week trial, after which you can return the pump in case you don’t enjoy it. They also offer a program which enables their customers to update for only $99 at any moment throughout a four-year interval — instead of being locked into the pump model you originally got. This will be key when Tidepool’s new open data solution is prepared to roll out, Thrower said.

In other words, roll out is determined by two pieces: an update of the present Snap pump which will function as BlueTooth LE allowed for wireless data capacities (Asante is working on that today), also Tidepool’s application coating, which is also under construction. Thus the companies don’t expect to actually launch this new data alternative to customers for at least six months, possibly longer, based on Tidepool’s advancement (see details below).

Wait a moment, does not Asante provide any software alternative to customers today? Actually, yes. Right now users can upload Snap data to DiaSend, “but that is really more of a clinical alternative than a customer answer,” Thrower states. They’ve also partnered with Glooko for easy data sharing with fingerstick meters. So they are clearly committed to providing patients lots of alternatives.

According to the news release, “Tidepool is aggressively working to establish a master record with the FDA and will be growing connectivity between the Tidepool platform and diabetes apparatus in 2014.”

Ironically, master files are usually meant to safeguard trade secrets of device makers. “The idea of a software platform present as master file for others to build on is unique, I think. We’re unaware of any others,” Howard tells me.

Tidepool platform

He clarifies that Tidepool is only going to start a pilot research at UCSF, and so is “talking early and often with FDA concerning the ideal way to acquire this new platform and our apps approved.” Meanwhile, in full support of an open system, they have made all their source code to the Tidepool Platform and software available to the public at https://github.com/Tidepool-org, and other programmers have the chance to work alongside them.

Tidepool is obviously expecting that Asante’s movement will inspire the rest of the diabetes industry to get on board. “It is fair to say we have talked to each significant device maker in the U.S. — along with the discussions are ongoing,” Howard says.

“The thing that is good about Asante is they are the first to literally hand us their instruction and source code to integrate with our stage.   It is a model which other device makers will follow,” he says confidently, while acknowledging that Medtronic for one has up to now provided only a mixed reaction. “Some folks there are very supportive (of an open data model), while other folks are not quite certain what to make of us” he explained.

We wondered how it had been possible for these companies to talk about viewing Snap pump data and CGM data in one place whenever the CGM makers are not yet on board? Simple answer: Tidepool has “reverse engineered” the data protocols from the Medtronic’s CareLink along with the Dexcom system.

“We do not technically need their service because we can create data files and USB protocols. But it’d better if they would openly encourage our efforts,” Howard says.

Really, Dexcom hasn’t yet made an official statement, but has been “very open about their service” in industry circles. In a current Diabetes Technology Society meeting, Howard Appearance was on a board with Dexcom’s CTO Jorge Valdez, who grabbed the mic at one point and stated clearly in front of 600 people something along the lines of: “We totally support open data and attempts including Tidepool’s.” Howard reports that both gave each other a double-high-five directly on stage.

Meanwhile, Dexcom’s strategic marketing head Steve Pacelli advised us in a telephone interview that he “has worries” about companies infringing on each others’ intellectual property without appropriate agreements in place.   “We’re not trying to hoard data, and I’m very much in favor of an open architecture approach… as long as it is done appropriately and safely.”

We also asked Asante when they had plans for immediate CGM integration with an Snap pump, as combo systems (read: artificial pancreas) are clearly the future. CEO Thrower said he can’t go into too much detail on what’s in the pipeline, but he succeeded at a modular approach in which patients could ” not be locked into a integrated pump and CGM sensor that is a generation behind.”

“Tidepool is going to be an empowering factor — with the capability to interact with the cloud and also have options,” Thrower said, adding, “We’ll be cryptic as we make more advancements.”

In the meantime, Asante is setting a fantastic example working with Tidepool, truly committing itself to the dawn of shared data. We can only expect the “tipping point” will come soon!

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

Disclaimer

This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog concentrated on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and does not adhere to Healthline’s editorial instructions. For more information regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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