Amy Tenderich, patient activist and founder of DiabetesMine talks why the diabetes community needs realistic and useful digital health innovation.
Later this month, Enspektos, an innovation consultancy, will hold a unique all-Web digital health conference, digihealth pulse Virtual 2014 (DHPV 2014). During the event, more than 25 innovators, entrepreneurs, patients and others will share their wisdom about digital health’s present and future.
Amy Tenderich, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2003, is founder and editor of DiabetesMine, a globally respected online publication that began its life as a resource for people living with, treating and caring for people with diabetes. In recent years, it has become a strong voice for patient/consumer advocacy in the diabetes community and has helped to catalyze innovation in diabetes care. Tenderich will be speaking at DHPV 2014.
During her session, Tenderich will not only talk about why the diabetes community needs realistic and useful digital health innovation, but what she’s doing to encourage and support companies, patients and others looking to build tools and technologies that will have a big impact. Following is a preview of what Tenderich will discuss during DHPV 2014.
Back in 2007, when Apple had sold its 100-millionth iPod, I wrote an open letter to Steve Jobs. I asked him (and “gadget guru” Jonathan Ive) to help the industry understand that “medical devices are also life devices” and that they need to be well-designed and function better in the real world, in addition to “keeping us alive.” One of the things that I asked Apple to do was to conduct a contest that would highlight and reward the best-designed medical devices in the world.
Apple never responded to my letter, but it did have an impact. Industry started to take medical device design more seriously. Also, people who were working hard to develop usable, attractive diabetes tools and technologies responded. And, with the support of key medical device makers and the online diabetes community, we launched an annual contest designed to highlight ideas for devices and other tools that can improve the lives of people with diabetes.
We’ve had our share of achievements, but we’re a long way from where we need to be. During the 2013 DiabetesMine Innovation Summit (a gathering of stakeholders I host at Stanford University), Howard Look, CEO of Tidepool, led a group discussion focusing on what needs to be done to improve the medical tools, devices and technologies people with diabetes rely on each day. A key topic of conversation was data. Looks focused on the need to “make diabetes data more accessible, intuitive and actionable.”
Like my open letter to Steve Jobs, this discussion grew in impact. Not only did it get people talking about the need to improve how diabetes data is collected, and ensure patients can access it, but the conversation sparked a movement called We Are Not Waiting. Its goal is simple: to demolish the innovation bottleneck that’s holding us back.
How are we working to achieve this goal? First, by asserting that the diabetes community is tired of waiting for others to deliver innovative digital solutions for us. We’re taking matters into our own hands by:
- Actively developing platforms, apps, and cloud-based solutions
- Reverse-engineering existing products so that we can improve them
- Helping people with diabetes better utilize devices and health data for improved outcomes
- Providing people with trusted guidance and reviews about diabetes products and services
During DHPV 2014, I’ll talk a lot more about where the We Are Not Waiting movement is going, lessons other patient communities can learn from our efforts and why diabetes innovation — even when it may appear trivial and abstract to those outside the patient community — is vital.
Disclosure: HIT Consultant is a featured media partner of digihealth pulse Virtual 2014