October 6, 2010

Change Just One Thing.

Kerri is an inspiration. She has a lovely bit about changing just one thing about diabetes. Go Read it.

I'm curious - what kind of marketing wiz asks a question like that? It is as if they may, if they get an extra latte, find the energy to make just one little change in the diabetes universe but don’t know what that should be.

How about the medical-industrial complex making continuous change.

They could start by staying current. Yes this would mean the FDA approval process would have to keep up too.  But every time some industry dude points a finger at the FDA for being too slow the other four are pointing back saying. "Hey industry! How slow were you in bringing the application to the FDA?"

I have heard industry people say they were waiting for clarity from the FDA. Great business plan, if you would be so kind as to tell the diabetes to wait too that would be just peachy. In the mean time we are still living with it and tools stuck in a prior time.

For example, the desktop software that supports our pumps is at best a warmed over set of macros built in a Microsoft Office application. It shows that it was originally developed in Access even if it now runs in something else. To my mind it lacks any real sense of being a useful tool for managing diabetes.

As if to demonstrate its marginality the pump manufacturer no longer includes the software in a new pump start kit. They tell me that too many were being thrown out so they figured they wouldn’t go to the expense of including it with the pump. They will support patients with a free copy if they fill out a form. Call me crazy but wouldn’t it be a more effective means of supporting clients to make the software so good it was helping them sell pumps?

It would be awesome if patients could choose tools that work together to support their lives with diabetes from what ever vendor provides the best tool to support the patient's particular life style. If the meters and pumps and CGM all spoke a common language we could. Instead data formats are used to separate devices by brand. This tower of technological babble hinders looking at the various components of care as interrelated parts of the balance of life with diabetes.

Let me be clear. That data is ours. We use it to manage lives with diabetes. It isn’t your marketing tool. It is patients' health.

It would be great if the software and devices stayed current with the technology in our homes. If it worked on the PC or Mac of our choice with the current operating system. For the record compatibility isn’t running and old copy of Windows XP booted on an Intel Mac. Lots of us use mobile devices too - catch up.

All that is indicative of the just one thing I would like to see changed.

It isn’t technology.

It is how industry sees patient lives. Patients live dynamic lives. We don’t stay in one place. Kids with diabetes grow. Children become adults. Women with diabetes have babies. Lives change. One size doesn’t fit all. One change isn’t enough.

Keep up.


  1. Welcome to the increasingly crowded diabetes data soapbox.

    I strongly believe that the first company who opens up their diabetes data (pump, meter, or CGM) will see folks building software on top of it. And heaven knows we need usable, useful, software that runs on Windows and Mac (including iPads and iPhones).

    That day can't come soon enough for me. I'm sick of the crappy software that comes with each device. I LOVED Cozmo's pump, but the software looks like it's from the 1980s.


    I wonder if a Diabetes Software Hall of Shame would help.

  2. Well said! At our endo appt last week they started spouting off changes to basals before they even spoke to us. They were making changes soley on what the download said.

    WHOA! That download gives HALF the picture, and that half has crappy resolution! I told them we are more than that data represents. I explained what they were seeing, as it pertained to our REAL life, and we didn't make any changes at all.

    Someday...someday...that data may tell the whole story, until then we need more posts like yours to put these pathetic technologies in their place!

  3. I agree wholeheartedly. The fact that Grace is on the OmniPod and we are a Mac using family all around must totally confound Insulet. Either that, or they don't give a crap. I cannot download my gal's data and frankly, someone from Insulet needs to look up at a calendar and realize it's 2010.
    Good post Bennet. One change indeed.