BusinessWeek Covers “Designing for Diabetics”

Score another point for Health 2.0! Meaning, in this case, that the voice of the patient community is resounding, all the way to the Innovation Dept. of BusinessWeek.

Check out this feature article that went live last night, called “DESIGNING FOR DIABETICS.

The mainstream media (MSM) got whiff of our whole push for improved medical product design, i.e. our campaign to get the vendors to “provide diabetics with equipment that fits as seamlessly into their lives as, say, an iPod, complete with an intuitive interface and a ‘cool’ design factor that encourages patients to monitor their health and self-treat the disease.”

My Open Letter to Steve Jobs and the resulting Charmr product design are referenced on page 2.


Albeit the article leads with Medtronic, making it sound like that company is leading the charge. While I don’t doubt that they’re cooking up some exciting new form factors, the MiniMed pump in the photo — which duly noted “looks like a pager” — is not a great example of cutting-edge design, to my mind.

After all, as design firm Adaptive Path pointed out, “When you think about the beautiful product design of portable consumer electronics such as mobile phones and MP3 players, it’s truly sad that diabetics have nothing more to choose from than hardware design that is reminiscent of an 80’s pager. Pumps could be better… a lot better.

We’re getting there, for sure. For today, I think we’ve made some great progress; the story in BusinessWeek shows how relevant the topic is, and gets even more eyeballs focused on taking diabetes care / medical product design to the next level.


4 Responses

  1. Michelle
    Michelle September 22, 2007 at 9:20 am | | Reply

    we ARE getting there Amy and a big part of that is people like you who keep the cause alive.

  2. Oxa Koba
    Oxa Koba September 22, 2007 at 5:33 pm | | Reply

    I was thrilled with Adaptive Path’s work on the Charmr proof of concept, but even BusinessWeek, as much as they like to talk about design innovation, does not “get it”.

    From the Business Week Article:
    “. . . a ‘cool’ design factor that encourages patients to monitor their health and self-treat the disease. Just as Apple has used elegant design to competitive advantage, medical-device makers are hoping that trendy-looking diabetes devices will attract new customers and retain existing ones.”

    The medical device industry has a lot to learn from Apple, but if they are anything like other electronics manufacturers, and they are, they will copy all the style and miss all the lessons. Instead they will focus on trendy colors, fashionable styles, and not the core design issues that dramatically impact our lives.

    Patients do not need trendy looking devices. I have no use for a diabetes device that looks like a Motorola RAZR and is as difficult and annoying to use as most cellphones.

    Yes, the Charmr has some significant customization and personality, but at the core is something much more important. The Charmr concept, as inspired by the iPod, is about ease of use, integration between devices, sophisticated user experience and innovative interaction design.

    The integration that the Charmr represents should reflect the carefully integrated platform Apple built for the iPod: Mac OS X + iTunes + iPod. The glucose monitor must works tightly with the pump and be easily accessible via software. How many cellphones work smoothly with your computer? None besides the iPhone — same with the iPod vs other MP3 players. Do diabetics really want the awful cellphone experience translated to their medical device experience even if we get the cool styled form factor?

    The DiabetesMine open letter and the Charmr concept project are pitch perfect calls for something more, and it will take a disruptive company like Apple to produce it, not the old entrenched Microsofts or Dells of the current medical industry.

    Keep up the pressure, and thank you, DiabetesMine, for your clarion call that has launched this public dialog.

  3. Mary
    Mary September 22, 2007 at 9:42 pm | | Reply

    Hey Amy, I know your passion is for new cutting edge design, but what about an initiative to make existing, boring technology more affordable? Is there really any excuse for the high price of test strips? The prices are a crushing burden for the those without insurance. I’d love to see the web community take up this issue. Not sexy, but in many ways more relevant to many people…

  4. Greg
    Greg September 23, 2007 at 5:26 pm | | Reply

    A family we know has a diabetic daughter who was on insulin. They tried a fruit juice called Monavie and currently their daughter’s insulin intake has been reduced by 75%. This juice is made up of 19 fruits including the Acai berry from Brazil.The Acai Berry’s low glycemic index improves glucose and lipid levels in diabetics. Also in diabetics, weak capillaries can lead to a condition called retinopathy, which often leads to blindness. The Acai berry helps to protect capillaries. The anythocyanins an the acai berry protect small and large vessels, including veins, arteries and capillaries.Learn more:

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