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Tidepool’s Take on Glooko+Diasend

September 14th, 2016 | Howard Look

What We’re Excited To See, What We Hope to See, and What Tidepool is Up To

Yesterday, Glooko and Diasend announced that they are merging, creating a new company and the largest diabetes data platform and app provider. As you might expect, given our position as the non-profit effort directed at providing T1D patients, their families and physicians with open and integrated data to manage their disease, we are being asked “What’s your take?” and “What does this mean for Tidepool?”

Even before the merger, we were getting asked frequently if we considered Glooko and Diasend competitors. The answer is, and has always been flatly: No. As a mighty force of 9 (soon 10!) we are not trying to compete with Glooko+Diasend’s 70+ employees. Instead, we see ourselves as a catalyst and a conduit, working as an open and transparent bridge between the people living with diabetes, caregivers, industry, researchers and regulators. We want Glooko+Diasend to succeed. Their success means the ecosystem we believe in is growing and sustaining. And we genuinely hope that our efforts will foster their success, which will be for the good of the entire diabetes community.

First, here’s what we love:

  • Glooko+Diasend’s vision of providing a unified platform for access to data is dead on. To the extent that this merger will empower more people with diabetes and their caregivers to get access to their data and gain insight into their therapy, this is a wonderful thing.

Secondly, here’s what we are proud of:

  • When we formed in 2013, there was no general consensus that PwD’s owned the data from their devices. (I know, right?) We pushed hard on that, and now it’s a no-brainer. We even got one important company to change their terms of service – it used to say “you hereby waive up all right, title and interest to the submitted data.” (Since they fixed it, we aren’t outing them.)
  • We worked with every single device maker and got all but one of them to give us their device protocols for use in our open source platform. We now support Abbott, Animas, Bayer, Dexcom, Insulet/OmniPod, OneTouch, and Tandem. And Medtronic? Well, we did the work to allow Tidepool users to read THEIR personal data from THEIR own Medtronic devices.
  • We continue to emphasize how important the diabetes app ecosystem is: Everyone’s diabetes is different. No one company can possibly provide all of the tools that are right for everyone. Choice matters: From the teen with T1D, the pregnant mom, the parent, the retiree, to the 20-something city dweller who wants to see her blood sugar in the same app showing the next train departure… an ecosystem of apps that all work together as seamlessly as possible to provide PwD the insights they desire makes just the right choice possible.
  • As a non-profit, we have released everything into the open: Our source code, our user interface designs, our apps, our regulatory quality system, our product roadmap. It’s all there, for free, for copying, without restriction, for anyone. We’ve helped device makers fix their protocols, and app makers have adapted our UI designs. We love that. It’s good for everyone.
  • We actively advocate for data liberation and raise awareness about the need for an interoperable diabetes ecosystem, such as with the NIH and FDA. We even got to talk about these challenges with President Obama, shedding light on, and gathering support for, the challenges faced by the T1D community.

So here are the things we’ll be keeping an eye on with the Glooko+Diasend merger:

  • We hope that Glooko+Diasend will continue to improve their user experience in ways that empower patients and providers to get better insights into therapy.
  • We hope Glooko+Diasend will make their cloud platform available to third-party developers (using OAuth2 and RESTful APIs), without restrictions on the user, so that the vibrant ecosystem can flourish.
  • We hope that Glooko+Diasend will make their data ownership policies crystal clear, and place no restrictions on how their users can export their data or make it available to other applications or researchers, as the patient sees see fit. And we hope they will push back on device makers that put restrictions on patient access to, and sharing of, their own data.
  • We hope that Glooko+Diasend will use their capital and market position in the best interest of people living with diabetes. Keeping data trapped in a new, bigger, proprietary silo will not be a good outcome, even if it’s better for the bottom line. (At Tidepool we are not fans of terms like “population management” and “compliance.” Those may be good for the insurance company, but they are not good for empowering individuals. As a non-profit, we’ve chosen to focus on the needs of individuals living with Type 1.)

Meanwhile, what will happen with Tidepool? We are committed to doing all of these things, and to doing them as a non-profit. Our passionate, devoted team will keep delivering more free, safe, secure and easy to use software.

And in case you missed it: Our software is free, safe, secure and easy-to-use, and is available now at tidepool.org. “Free” as in no cost. And “Free” as in your data is yours.