John Brooks III is CEO of the legendary Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. He’s unique as the leader of an academic medical center, in that he has a strong background in industry — having previously co-founded Insulet (makers of the OmniPod) and two other life sciences companies. We interviewed him in Spring about his ambitious plans to spread Joslin’s expertise across the country and around the world. It’s all about utilizing tech innovations in the right way to bring the right care to the right people at the right time. John once again joined us for our recent Summit, and was inspired to report back with some key thoughts:
A Guest Post by John Brooks III
I had the great honor to participate at the recent DiabetesMine Innovation Summit on November 15, 2013. The themes of patient engagement and advocacy and the push for innovation in tools and care that were clearly evident at the Summit strongly resonated with me, as our strategy at Joslin is to drive innovation to improve the lives of those living with diabetes. With over 26 million people in the United States and 371 million people worldwide with diabetes, and over three times that at risk, disruptive and new ways of thinking are required.
Innovation is the mechanism that will bring patient-centric advancements so those living with diabetes can live well with their diabetes. We are harnessing the power of technology, connectivity, mobility, and big data to bring real actionable information and insights to patients, their families, and care teams, while eliminating much of the day-to-day burden of managing diabetes. Just as Amazon builds a dynamically personalized and tailored profile of one’s buying preferences and shopping habits, so too can we utilize analytics, EMR data mining, risk stratification tools, and predictive and adaptive algorithms so that a patient’s status can be actively monitored, analyzed, and adjusted, all in real time.
It was gratifying to hear the FDA state their willingness to work with patients and others to ensure that the spirit of innovation is not stifled. Overly restrictive policies or approaches that fail to recognize that the iterative processes of continuous improvement and refinement are how new products get better. The old saying that perfection is the enemy of good is relevant here as we advance new solutions. Securing patient input on risk tolerance and tradeoffs will be key to striking the right balance.
It was also valuable for the payer panelists to hear directly from diabetes patients and care givers how new technology utilization and reimbursement policies, even if they are web accessible and transparent, and physician only negotiated technology adoption appeals, do not help or encourage those with diabetes to manage their disease.
“The old rationale of avoiding paying for new care models and devices because the future benefits will not be recouped by the payer due to employee and member churn is outdated, as we are already seeing employers, providers, and others recognize the value of prevention, proactivity, and positive reinforcement in helping patients better manage their disease 24/7.”
— John Brooks III, CEO of Joslin, on how health insurers need to change their ways
Lastly, We are dedicated to innovating in science as part of our mission. Joslin will continue to advance our world leading research efforts to find a cure for type 1, as we are unraveling the nature of how the autoimmune process goes awry, and we have made very meaningful progress in enabling glucose responsive beta cells to be regenerated. We are also very focused on understanding the metabolic processes that drive type 2 diabetes, as well as finding new biomarkers and therapeutics that will mitigate and damper the complications of diabetes.
The power of collaboration and networking was the hallmark of the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit, and I am already looking forward to next year’s program.
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Thank you, John!
See also: the Diabetes Hands Foundation’s newly posted “Open Letter to U.S. Insurers from a Person with Diabetes“ including this vital observation:
“Once the dust settles after the current madness surrounding the Affordable Care Act, we will all remember that for the first time in US history, we the people are in a position to shop for insurance for ourselves. Even if employers will likely continue to be key clients of insurance companies, people will now have a choice. Therefore, not just insurance products but the mindset surrounding those products needs to acknowledge and treat patients as clients.”