If it weren’t for COVID-19, we would be in Chicago today hosting the Summer 2020 DiabetesMine D-Data ExChange technology forum as an in-person event.

We would be in the Windy City along with thousands of others involved in diabetes treatment and care heading to the huge American Diabetes Association (ADA) annual meeting that was supposed to take place there.

But as it is, nearly all of this summer’s conferences are taking place online. Everything in healthcare has gone virtual, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (See my newly published essay in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology on “Telemedicine’s Breakout Moment.”)

So it is with much excitement — and a few butterflies in our stomachs — that we’re debuting the first-ever Virtual #DData ExChange today. We’re hosting roughly 140 diabetes innovation leaders in a new interactive platform that replicates the experience of being at a live event.

In fact, today marks our 14th #DData event since its inception in Fall of 2013, where the #WeAreNotWaiting hashtag and movement were born!

The very first #DData meeting was essentially an ad hoc gathering of early patient hackers. Knowing there were lots of folks out there starting to tinker with diabetes technology, we pulled a meeting together as a pre-day to our annual DiabetesMine Innovation Summit, then held at Stanford School of Medicine. There was excitement in the air and an upsurge of interest from around the country!

Now, #DData has evolved into an established event series that takes place twice a year, in mid-June and early November.

The connections made at these events have had some exciting tangible results, including:

  • A lot of folks from the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) community getting hired by forward-thinking industry organizations. What could be better than placing those brilliant patient-focused minds where they can help change the market for diabetes tools?
  • Partnerships, research projects, pilot programs, and advisory boards.
  • Importantly, we’ve seen and are seeing real strides in interoperability and embracing open-source models in diabetes innovation.

#DData has always been a place to hear about cutting-edge technology from the DIY community and various startups, along with new regulatory pathways directly from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) leaders.

Today, one focus will be on how the industry is preparing for a flood of new users of emerging Closed Loop systems, aka Automated Insulin Delivery (AID), or “Artificial Pancreas” systems. How will they provide customer support, education, and training for an onslaught of new users who are not DIY types, and may inevitably need a lot of “hand-holding?”

We’ll also have a look at some hot new apps for parents and caregivers of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D), and three up-and-coming new continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems.

The DiabetesMine D-Data ExChange gathers patient-entrepreneurs rallying behind the grassroots #WeAreNotWaiting movement with the major pharma leaders, medical device manufacturers, clinicians, and researchers creating vital algorithms, consumer mHealth tech experts and designers, and the FDA.

It’s all about connecting the diabetes DIY community with leaders from pharma, Medtech, regulatory, clinical, and digital health design worlds to have candid conversations and break down barriers. To keep it intimate, and foster quality networking, we generally cap these events at a max of 150 individuals.

We’ll take a look a what’s happening in the world of diabetes Medtech innovation in 2020. Of course, we’ll spend some significant time addressing the realities of what patients face “out in the trenches” of daily diabetes management.

This summer’s lineup includes:

  • Data-Driven Care for All: Challenges and Opportunities – Insights from New York University MD/MBA and digital health visionary Sarah Zweifach.
  • FDA’S “Healthy Quality System” – Updates on protecting patient safety in our ‘new normal,’ from Courtney Lias, Director of the FDA’s Division of Chemistry & Toxicology Devices.
  • Quality of Life (QOL) Lessons from the Tidepool Loop Study – Stanford Principal Investigator Diana Naranjo will share lifestyle impact on users trying out the new Tidepool Loop system based on the DIY version.
  • Commercial Closed Loop Systems in Real Life – New research presented by Dana Lewis, creator of OpenAPS, on the pros and cons that users cite while living with the Medtronic 670G or Tandem’s new Control-IQ system. This will include a live patient panel.
  • Customer Support Challenges in an Interactive World – Lessons from Tandem Diabetes’ Control-IQ launch, along with group brainstorming on building visual, social media-friendly, gamified training and support.
  • #DDATA Demos: An inside look at a great lineup of hot new players:
    • HappyBob – a motivational and learning app for kids, adults, and families dealing with T2D
    • Emmett app – a “digital health assistant” for caregivers of T1D kids that provides real-time guidance
    • LifePLUS – a non-invasive CGM for prediabetes and early stage type 2 diabetes
    • Nemaura sugarBEAT – a non-invasive CGM for prediabetes and type 2 that can be worn a single day at a time
    • Biolinq – a minimally invasive sensor that analyzes blood glucose results to offer the first “intelligent CGM” system

Videos of the presentations and demos will be made public on a designated website by the end of the month. Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook channels for details.

A HUGE “THANK YOU” to the organizations who have stepped up to support this community and make these gatherings possible: