With a background in mobile devices, expert systems and process design, the solution was obvious following Darby's diagnosis w/ type 1 diabetes more than 15 years ago.
Kevin L McMahon
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) .
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 2002 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), 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.
More recently my time is spent designing education programs and tools to support patient self-care. In 2013, I began the process of developing dynamic diabetes management which eventually became "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). Together, we're enlisting the help of more than 17 million people with type 1 diabetes to break down barriers to self-care while promoting a more sensible approach to artificial blood sugar control.
I began my work in diabetes in 2001 after my youngest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm an advisor to several startups as well as working on my own next big thing. I regularly contribute articles to medical journals and speak at conferences. The San Francisco Bay Area is my home.
MediSelf Press was born in 2014 because of the need for an increased emphasis on health education. For the past 20 years, industry has been in love with technology at the expense of educating patients how to self-manage their conditions.
During the process of writing the book "Sugar Surfing" with my good friend Stephen Ponder, I realized that somebody needed to take this great book, its modern methods, and work hard to get as many people on board practicing and teaching these new diabetes techniques. It was clear that social media offers only limited reach. It is but one channel for communicating with people. Workshops are another. Books are yet another way and even post cards have their place as a communication medium.
Over the years I've developed a few ideas around content creation, publication, and verifiable consumption of education. However, until we know to what extent people put that knowledge to work these efforts may be all for naught. These ideas have come together now as MediSelf Press; a modern way of connecting and activating people by leveraging information in its many disguises.
Kevin McMahon, Publisher, is also Chief Executive of Diabetech.
Diabetech licenses blood sugar data collection and analysis technology to blood glucose meter manufacturers and large health care organizations including Telcare, the National Health Service in the UK and others.