Tidepool – Elegant visuals tell an important story for people with Type 1 diabetes

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 3.34.19 PM.png

Have you ever noticed a problem and wondered why no one fixed it sooner?

That is exactly what Howard Look, who has been the Vice President of Software and User Experience at TiVo, Pixar and Amazon, was thinking when his daughter got type 1 diabetes in 2011. Given his background outside of healthcare, he quickly noticed that the current medical devices are old, clunky and do not talk to each other.

“There was no coordinated effort to do better. So we set off to build something that no one has built before and make the daily life of people with type 1 diabetes a little easier,” Howard explained.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused when the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes are dependent on external insulin to live.

New Solutions and Applications

The front end of Tidepool’s first application, blip, is a beautiful, intuitive visualization.  As shown above and below, it displays a story that is easy to use for both the patient and the doctor.  The data is currently being aggregated from 4 devices:

  1. insulin pump
  2. blood glucose meter
  3. continuous glucose monitor
  4. mobile application on cell phone

Future plans include a decision support system to a research dashboard to an artificial pancreas telemetry interface. More importantly, the blip’s messaging interface allows parents and caregivers to interact in a fun, productive way.

When I think about the future of open scientific data collaboration, I get excited about the “Mozilla of diabetes platforms.”  Tidepool is an open, cloud-based platform. Developed on GitHub, they are enlisting the open development community to help them develop and extend the scalable platform, which has no limit to the incoming data. They are also building applications on top of the Tidepool Platform. These aim to cultivate data from multiple sources in a vendor-neutral way.

Above all, a self-sustaining non-profit seems like a well thought out way to bring collaboration to a fragmented industry. The source code for the Tidepool Platform and applications will be available for free to all. They plan to be self-sustaining by the end of 2015 by also offering its platform as a hosted service to commercial device makers.

“ We just want to make life easier for those with type 1 diabetes. We have taken the approach to give everything to the community.”

Overall, I find Howard’s story inspiring and I want to learn from the type 1 diabetes community and apply it to other autoimmune diseases.

So, what problem do you want to tackle today?


On Key

Related Posts

Our Vision of Autoimmune Care

Autoimmune Patient Journey The convoluted journey of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (AIIDs) has many stages. Unlike cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, there are no population screening nor public health education programs for AIIDs.

Autoimmune Incidence & Prevalence

Data Issues in Autoimmune Data for autoimmune diseases are substantially lacking and inconsistent. The US gathers no statistics on autoimmune diseases as a group, nor even national data on marquee diseases. Therefore, total autoimmune incidence