April 4, 2009

Kindly Dr Txt

There is a raging thread over at CWD that started as a MiniMed reaches out to Cosmo families and has digresses into a flame festival of brand loyalty. We T1 parents are fairly rational people for the most part, necessity forces it on even those like me who resist it. You may not be able to prove it by that thread.

Diabetes is a deeply emotional thing for us parents for a whole lot of reasons. Not the least is that it has taken the illusion that we can protect our kidsfrom us.

I think that what works of me isn't necessarily what will work for anyone else. What works varies from family to family.

For example I can't be bothered with scales. Lots of folks love'm. I see these long online conversations on the virtues of features found on scales. I don't like scales. Starting with the one in the bathroom. That doesn't make scales bad for them or right for me. Our approach to raising kids with diabetes is different, so we use different tools.

These are big companies we are taking about. While their products keep our kids alive, we need to be emotionally separate from them.

Here is why. We need to be open to change. Maybe there is a better gizmo, it uses less blood or the light works better or the case comes in a color that makes our kids happy or what ever. What ever works, works.

In stead of fighting among ourselves over brand loyalty based on petty differences we should be focusing our attention on the companies we use and challenging them to do better. Much better.

For example: Wouldn't it be great if all meters, CGMs and pumps spoke the same data language? We could use what ever and look at our data with the programs the meet our needs. Heck the scale could bluetooth the weight to a program that flips that into carbs and shoots that barb value into the pump. (But even then I am not using a scale.)

If we all said in a clear voice that we will only buy products form companies that work towards open data standards, that let us choose product that work for our families and share common data in a common format so we can analyze it in programs based on features not proprietary data sets, they would, eventually, deliver it. Kicking and screaming and probably suing each other along the way.

But if we let them build brand loyalty on the basis of emotion that covers for lack of innovation, our kids loose, all our kids.

We deserve better from all of these companies. We will not get it unless we speak to them about our needs. To be honest I don't think they have a freaking clue what we need or want. They are in a market driven by the doctor writing a prescription and the insurance company paying and who the hell gets the prescription they don't know. They know they get years of revenue as that rx get refilled. Don't much care who or why it is being filled for.

We aren't customers, we aren't clients, we aren't patients, we don't matter. We are not part of the Doc+Rx+Insurance=cash for everyone equation.

Look at a big pharma diabetes dog and pony show, ad in amagazing, trade show booth what ever. The graphic is always a concerned typically older person in a white coat, aka the Kindly Doctor (typically a white male but not always but always with a little graying hair) looking at his or her PC while the harried younger mother (never a dad, ever) has an expression of concern and gratitude that the Kindly Doctor is looking at her child's chart on the screen. Sometimes Lassie does a cameo as if to say little Billy has been saved from the burning barn of blood sugar.

As if.

Yet they make that image with care to reinforce the idea that the system of doc, big pharma and big insurance are in control and they will take care of us.

How much time do you get with your doctor?

10 minutes every three months? You think she/he is gonna take a text message from your blood meter? Would you like it if five of your ten minutes the doc was reading texts from other patients meters? Would you ever go back to that quack?

We are our kids primary care givers.

We need to be part of the equation.


  1. AMEN!! Thanks for doing this blog. Many times Ive read a posting and thought "yes, yes, yes". Plus you also help me laugh at times when I really need it. So again. Thanks.

  2. "I don't think they have a freaking clue what we need or want." Now here's where I disagree. There are people in these corporations (not speaking of any brand loyalty) who care and are affected by type 1 diabetes themselves or within their families. Our kids in fact may grow up with a passion to work in these companies themselves.