No. The ‘diabetes problem’ has not been solved. In fact, despite the advances in blood glucose monitoring technologies, the proliferation of self-management apps, and near universal awareness of the impact of poorly-controlled diabetes, we haven’t significantly changed the trends on prevalence, outcomes or cost. Yet.
Here’s an example of hemoglobin A1c control at a very good healthcare system.
In our experience, this is a typical picture.
Why aren’t we doing better despite the focus on this problem and the tremendous amount of money being spent on both innovation and management efforts?
The simple answer is because it’s hard.
Diabetes management for any given individual is complex and multifactorial – nutrition, exercise, medication, stress, sleep, mental health and genetics all play a role. Many of us wish there were a quick fix, a single pill to take, a cure, but there’s not.
Diabetes management as a systems problem is equally complex and multifactorial. It’s comprised of a dynamic mixture of clinical management, self-efficacy, care delivery architecture, cost structure… I could go on. Much attention has been paid to (and investments made in) point solutions that address individual aspects of this system but we haven’t done enough to enable the system as a whole to move forward. That’s what leads to this sentiment from many investors that diabetes has been ‘solved’, it’s sort of yesterday’s news. Well, news flash – we still have a long way to go.
Only by bringing all the pieces together, enabling a more effective and efficient patient-doctor relationship, removing obstacles to care, and incentivizing everyone to work towards the same end goal, can we finally ‘solve’ the diabetes problem. We are committed to enabling this holistic approach and we’re not deterred by the complexity.