The K.I.S.S. principle, commonly known as “Keep It Simple, Stupid”, is widely practiced in the design field but clearly underutilized in the diabetes management space, especially if you ask people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes currently on Multiple Daily Injection (MDI) therapy.
In a recent national survey of 700 people with insulin-requiring diabetes using MDI therapy, almost 2/3 of respondents said they wish it was simpler to track their insulin use and glucose levels.
The survey, which was conducted on behalf of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES) in collaboration with Sanofi, provides a critical window into the needs of people on MDI therapy, a significant but often underserved segment of the diabetes population.
At Bigfoot Biomedical, many of us have personal connections to someone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Often, it’s a spouse or a child where we’ve experienced the daily burden that the person with diabetes carries on a 24/7 basis. Our own personal experiences with diabetes have shaped not only the urgency that we feel in bringing a diabetes management solution to market, but also a strong bias for developing technology that is simple and easy to use.
Recently, Bigfoot CEO Jeffrey Brewer posted a response to a Healthline article entitled, “I Struggle with Diabetes. Don’t Call Me Non-Compliant,” that underscores our view of what’s needed in the diabetes industry. He said, “People with diabetes want to succeed if they can…. If they can’t, the tools need to be better: easier to use, more convenient, and more accessible. That’s on us and why we are committed to making it easier for people with diabetes to do what they want to do, stay healthy, and live their lives.”
At Bigfoot, we’re looking at the challenges and burdens faced by people with insulin-requiring diabetes in new and innovative ways. We may be going against the grain in our industry by looking at how we can simplify our solutions by removing, not adding, complexity and multi-step processes.
According to the ADCES survey of people using MDI therapy, the vast majority of respondents say their current tools don’t do enough. When asked what type of technology would benefit them most in managing their diabetes, an overwhelming eighty percent of survey respondents say they want a device that connects to an insulin pen, automatically tracks and records insulin use, and then wirelessly transmits that data to an app or smartphone.
In summary, MDI users want the K.I.S.S. principle applied to their diabetes technology. Let technology take over the arduous task of logging insulin use and transmitting it to a device where both the person with diabetes and the clinician can see the results. With as many advances as our industry has seen over the recent decade, it’s clear we’ve missed addressing the needs of MDI users.
Another telling response in the ADCES survey was the burden that the survey respondents feel about how they manage their diabetes – 67 percent of respondents said they feel guilty about not doing a better job. That guilt is misplaced. Diabetes is a frustrating, never-ending, always changing disease that confounds even the most diligent of patients. What people with diabetes need are better tools. And better does not mean more complex technology. Better tools are those that meet the needs of both the person with diabetes and the clinician with simple, intuitive solutions.
The good news is that there are important advancements happening in MDI technology that begin to address these unmet needs. For example, at Bigfoot, we’ve put the K.I.S.S. principle into practice with the design of the Bigfoot UnityTM Diabetes Management System, which has been submitted to the FDA for review. Not only is the Bigfoot Unity System designed to seamlessly integrate with the FreeStyle Libre 2 CGM to provide on demand insulin dosing recommendations as established by the person’s health care provider, but also to automatically capture insulin dose time information and CGM data and upload that information to the cloud whenever WiFi is present. Our design goal is to dramatically reduce the steps for the person with diabetes. Our own version of KISS is “Keep it Simple Sasquatch.”
As diabetes technology companies, the onus is on us to do the heavy lifting but still adhere to the K.I.S.S. principle. By keeping it simple, we’re working toward creating solutions that people with diabetes can and want to use. They already bear a heavy burden and technology should not be one of them.