Databetes 6 helps patients better manage their diabetes and the day-to-day challenges that come with it. We allow diabetics to form small support networks of just 6 fellow patients. Consider it your own personalized mentor network.
One of the problems that happens when you combine the Internet and diabetes is that you get quite simply too much information. Much of the time, patients are looking for emotional support from their fellow patients, some good advice from people they trust and wisdom from those who have lived with the condition longer than them. Using Databetes 6 is about sharing knowledge with good friends.
In managing diabetes, patients begin with the obvious. They aim to keep their blood sugar readings under control using a variety of treatment regimens. They adjust their medication, food and exercise accordingly.
But as with most chronic care conditions, something happens over time. Managing all of these factors mostly on your own takes an emotional toll. Connecting with others who also understand these challenges can provide the inspiration and motivation to continue doing the right things.
As this feedback model details, I believe the primary goal of a diabetes self-care system is to achieve both physical and mental health.
Databetes 6 will provide services both on your standard computer and a mobile application. Since I use an iPhone, I documented some of the services that could be added.
Beyond the mentor network component that I have described, the system would also rely on a steady supply of up-to-date medical data. To overcome the competing proprietary standards of device managers, we will design a wireless transmitter that can attach to blood glucose monitors and insulin pumps. These could connect over a GSM network, sending out data as it is generated.
This information, combined with the potential of the iPhone, can create the real-time feed that is at the heart of the mentor network. Have a few days straight of terrific blood sugar readings and Databetes can share the good news with your support network. Or let your friends know that you successfully met your carbohydrate goals for the week, inspiring them to do the same. Every long run, bike or swim could provide a healthy dose of incentive for your other friends to exercise more too.
Databetes 6 builds on many behaviors that are already occurring for most diabetics. These include testing blood sugar levels, taking insulin, counting carbohydrates and exercising regularly. Social networks are nothing new to most people by now as well.
Nonetheless, there will be some adjustment for many people in being more diligent about managing their diabetes, sharing medical information with fellow diabetes and having software provide daily reminders to them daily.
As such, Databetes 6 would mostly aim to increase “Green” and “Blue” behaviors in the BJ Fogg Behavior Grid.
These include better data management and responses to the data.
Obviously it would aim to decrease both “Gray” and “Black” behaviors, but without ever specifically asking or telling patients to do this. In this way, we will incorporate the ideas of Karen Pryor as presented in “Don’t Shoot the Dog.”
Databetes 6 will make certain tasks much easier to complete, such as data aggregation and transmission. Lowering the level of ability needed should increase compliance.
The mentor network is aimed at increasing motivation, in part through healthy competition with your support group friends. If you are a little overweight and seeing frequent updates on how your friend is losing weight, this quite possibly could provide you with greater motivation to adjust your diet.
The reciprocal nature of the support group can provide motivation on its own as well. It provides people with a path to being part of a solution and in doing so gives an emotional boost.
Much of the hot triggers will come in the form of either SMS messages to a smartphone or messages to the website. If a patient enters a dosage of insulin around a meal time but has not taken a photo of the food or estimated the carb count, a quick reminder right then could spur them to take this action. Also, if a patient is ever in need of an immediate reply from their support circle, the system could send this message right away.
Otherwise, most messages on the mentor network would be available when a patient signs in to Databetes. Patients could post status updates or share diabetes news links.
When a friend provides a good post, you could note that it was helpful. A reputation management system would note a user’s number of posts and the reaction. It would also note how long the patient has been living with diabetes. As such, users would encouraged to be an active and supportive member of the community.