In their own words...
Data Design Diabetes Question: Let’s start at the beginning. How did your story begin? What was the catalyst for your solution?
Connect & Coach Answer: We started in 2011 as a design project at Carnegie Mellon University. The team consisted of four grad students from the MBA, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and Public Policy programs, and a sponsor with extensive healthcare experience. Our goal was to develop a solution to improve diabetes self-management, both to improve quality of life for people with diabetes and reduce healthcare costs.
We started by interviewing over 60 people with diabetes, and 30-40 experts from research, medical, and academic roles in order to understand the challenges and success factors of diabetes self-management. Once we synthesized our primary research into a model, we began the process of designing a solution. Today, our technology and business model have evolved, but our initial understanding gained from ~100 interviews is still at the core of our solution.
This year’s challenge is distinct from previous years in its focus on the intersection of data and healthcare. How has access to data empowered your team and shaped your approach?
For us, data is the glue that connects our three key stakeholders. Data provides insights and incentives for an individual to take control of their health. It empowers the Registered Dietitians (RD) and Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) to deliver better quality care more efficiently. Finally, it helps the retailer measure their program effectiveness at changing customer behavior and improving outcomes. Data is the key to creating an ecosystem that supports a better care delivery model.
Who are some of the game-changing people and companies in health tech that you most admire? How have they caught your eye?
One company is WellDoc. They were a pioneer at using technology to solve real problems for people managing diabetes. Their example has made it easier for the next generation of health tech companies to bring solutions to the market. WellDoc has also demonstrated the ability to build on their original solution to enter new markets. Today they have a much more comprehensive product offering than they did a few years ago.
What are your team’s superpowers? How are you uniquely poised to tackle this challenge?
The PHRQL team came together about 1.5 years ago from varied backgrounds, but all having focused on this problem for years. Our development team created the Chronicle Diabetes DSME application distributed by the ADA, and the AADE7 DSME application distributed by the AADE. This experience gives us unique insights into the DSME process and software technology. Couple that with mobile technology that is currently three months into a randomized clinical trial, and is commercially available for RD's and CDE's to offer virtual coaching to their patients, and we are ready to deliver a solution on a national scale. Our target market is retail supermarket and pharmacy chains that are delivering nutrition counseling and diabetes education to their customers. There are unmet needs in this emerging delivery model, and Connect & Coach™ is the product to fill them.
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