by Kevin McMahon, Founder & CEO
Prior to 2001, I was an experienced technology executive working on advanced mobile telecommunications products and services like E911, Wireless Location Services®, the emergence of mobile commerce and mobile network connected touch screen PDAs, consumer applications and mobile operator infrastructure.
Following my then 2 year old's diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, In 2001 I designed the first device and system for enabling a remotely controllable Artificial Pancreas (AP) . You can read my paper, published in June, 2004; "The Real Time Virtual-Loop: Collection through Intervention" here.
My first step on the Road to an Artificial Pancreas was an FDA regulated blood glucose meter jacket with built-in cellular network connectivity, real-time peer group analytics and remote control via the Internet. I created a company called Diabetech and the device was called GlucoMON®. By 2004 that device was in the hands of hundreds of patients within carefully monitored clinical trials under Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversight. We shared our outcomes data and progress with health plans (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas), private foundations (JDRF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
During early pilots of this first-generation prototype cloud based remote monitoring and education system, we learned much about the behavioral aspects of living with type 1 diabetes. We knew we had to incorporate game theory and predictive analytics if we hoped to have an impact beyond shuttling numbers here and there. At the 2003 Diabetes Technology Society's annual meeting, we reported our findings as well as shared advice that people need less work and better feedback beyond logging more data and receiving only charts and graphs.
Since those early days, my work expanded into using this technology to support more than a dozen behavioral and clinical research trials including: pancreatic islet cell transplant patient monitoring (2005), patient trained personalized artificial pancreas (2005), type 2 diabetes, disease management & wellness programs (2006), development of a proprietary high quality home-based hemoglobin A1c test kit, and even a joint venture abroad to work closely with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
Somewhere in the mix my team also got involved with design, development and testing of a comprehensive pediatric asthma management program involving text messaging, smart phone apps, content libraries and interaction algorithms to educate and collect data around adherence and state.
Several studies have been published in peer reviewed medical journals including the landmark "Integrating an Automated Diabetes Management System into the family management of Children with Type 1 Diabetes" (Diabetes Care.35, 498-502. Alexandria VA: The American Diabetes Association). The NHS continue to operate my remote patient monitoring system for people with type 1, type 2 and diabetes in pregnancy as a proven cost saving innovation without sacrificing quality care. And, various technologies I invented and piloted in clinical research trials are embedded within the world's most advanced blood glucose meter.
My time is spent designing the next generation GlucoMON device for simplifying blood sugar data collection as well as education programs and engagement tools to support patient self-care. In 2013, I began the process of developing dynamic diabetes management which is now known as "Sugar Surfing: How to manage type 1 diabetes in a modern world" along with my co-author Stephen W. Ponder, MD CDE (an innovative and charismatic endocrinologist).
With technology, we can make a difference in people's lives. The key, however, is to enable passive collection of every patient's data; still only a dream for the typical person with diabetes.
My daughter Darby, age 4 and wearing a hard-fought insulin pump in 2003.
GlucoMON 1.0 initially field tested in 2002 and subsequently supported more than $4M of behavioral studies. This configuration was retired in 2008 and replaced with version 2.0 which still operates in the UK by the NHS.
On the trails with Mickey.