times, and communicate wirelessly via Bluetooth to a mobile phone or connected glucometer. The
information can be used for personal learning moments, high-level trend analysis, and
population-level analyses to benefit diabetes healthcare at all levels.
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?
GoCap Answer: After reading extensively about diabetes, attending multiple healthcare conferences, and working in tele-health, it became clear that there was a huge need for better information transparency to improve health and reduce costs. Chronic disease patients account for much of the cost for the healthcare system, much of which is related to adherence. GoCap founder Richard Whalley was confused when he realized there was no information feedback for injector systems, especially injector pens. He was also disheartened by the lack of interfaces that had an emphasis on human-centric design and lifestyle integration. Medical devices are typically bland and boring. Why? From there, we decided to prototype GoCap in our kitchen and entered it into the Health & Wellness Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab. We got a lot of amazing feedback and decided to work full time on it about 6 months afterward.
Share with us a moment that validated the hard work and dedication you’ve poured into cultivating your idea, reinforcing your vision.
Positive feedback and anecdotes from patients and doctors are always the most compelling in terms of motivation. Specifically, one example is hearing from an endocrinologist that he never knows what his patients do outside the office, and that he needs to for better treatment. Another is hearing from patients who talk about how inconvenient and time-consuming diabetes is in their lives. We aim to make monitoring and treatment of diabetes more efficient and convenient for everyone in the system.
Your solution has the potential to impact millions of Americans living with diabetes. How has this focus on patients impacted your development process?
We want to build towards a system that is designed for different patient lifestyles. Diabetes is extremely diverse. There is everyone from a 65-year old Type 2 patient with dementia working with a nurse, to a Type 1 child with worried parents, to a completely independent tech-savvy 30-year old wanting to track their disease. All of these people have different needs in terms of interface. “Data” can be useful, but it is wasted without engaging and convenient interfaces that are cost effective and present insights from the data in an actionable way.
Who are some of the game-changing people and companies in health tech that you most admire? How have they caught your eye?
We admire several companies that are working towards improving information feedback loops, such as Telcare, with the first 3G-enabled blood glucose meter and Dexcom, with continuous blood glucose monitoring. However, our most important influences come from outside of healthcare. We take a lot of inspiration from video games and consumer products. Video games are unique in that they are complex information systems with emotionally engaging interfaces. Successful consumer products are made to integrate into someone’s life simply and conveniently. These are all traits we strive for in our own technology, whether or not a consumer is paying for it.
What are your team’s superpowers? How are you uniquely poised to tackle this challenge?
James and Rich are complementary in skills and mindset, while aligned in goals and principles. James, a hardware prototyping addict, understands technology development and engineering challenges and enjoys interfacing with the various partners necessary to create a successful product. Richard, creative and insightful in design of user interfaces, has an advanced understanding of business in the life sciences & healthcare through his experience in consulting for venture-backed startups. Both are MIT grads excited about human-centric design in the medical world and passionate about making diabetes care more efficient. We’re also ecstatic to have assembled such a wonderful team of advisors with business, design, and healthcare experience to help us as we grow.
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