Cracking the Code: CEO Eran Atlas Talks Dreamed’s Revolutionary Tech

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Jordan Dakin

Beyond Type 1: Can you talk about the founding of DreaMed?

Eran: DreaMed started as part of one of the biggest institutes for people with type 1 diabetes in Israel. The director of this institute is Professor Moshe Philip (co-chairman of ATTD). His vision was to bring in technological people to try to develop solutions to help the needs of people with diabetes. One of our first projects was to create an algorithm for automated insulin delive­ry… We were the first in the world to do automated insulin delivery clinical trials outside of a hospital and we published these results in the New England Journal of Medicine. This was the first manuscript about people looping and then we were the first to send people home with automated insulin delivery in 2012.

We created a relationship with Medtronic Diabetes, which allowed us to communicate with their insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. After we finished a lot of sessions of clinical trials, we decided we wanted to regulate our technology software as a standalone medical device. That’s why we established DreaMed in 2014. Since then, we’ve made a licensing deal with Medtronic. They were the first investor in the company and our technology will be part of their next-generation advanced hybrid closed loop system: the 780G. But working on the closed loop project, we always knew that not all the people with diabetes would have access to closed loop, but we very much believe that the majority will have access to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology.

The thing that we were focused on is how we can use our expertise to create something that will be able to help the providers and the patient better dose insulin based on data that comes from CGM and from insulin delivery devices. For that purpose, we started to develop a technology that we call today the DreaMed Advisor. DreaMed Advisor is a decision support system that captures all data and recommends very precise, personalized insulin delivery for that specific patient. Not in a real-time manner, but in the manner of a treatment plan.

BT1: Can people on MDI utilize DreaMed advisor?

E: It’s not regulated for MDI patients at the moment. Our MDI version is on clinical trials, and I really hope that during this calendar year, we’ll be able to share the status of these programs and how fast we think it will be available on the market.

Do you think part of the reason people are sometimes slow to adopt technology is because there are some who question using it for matters like medical decisions?

I think what we’re experiencing right now are more logistical issues – how the data flows from the devices to the platform, the fact that clinics are using multiple platforms to download the data from the patient devices, and the fact that most of what we see today is not digitalized. Clinics are still printing reports – about 20 to 30 pages every visit. They don’t have the manpower because they are so overloaded with work: all the documentation, mailing the claims, dealing with that download of the data when the patient arrives at the clinic, etc.

But what I see when I visit clinics and when I talk to people and I hear lectures is that 2020 might be a moment where some of the barriers can be solved. Not all of them, but some of them can be overcome to allow us to implement such a program.

One of the things that is very interesting to me is the role of the people with diabetes in this. Everybody knows that people with diabetes pay a lot of money for healthcare costs, right? The majority of that is from the insulin costs, but even to see a doctor, there is a certain co-pay and co-insurance that patients are paying each visit. The question is how much patients will be open to removing the barriers, and saying, “I prefer to pay out of pocket for a service that will allow me to get the titration of my data with technology, together with a healthcare provider that is considered a top doc because they have clinical studies behind them. For that, I’d be willing to pay out of pocket and eventually, I will save costs because I will pay less, and I will get better outcomes, and I will spare my other costs of going to the ER in hypoglycemia and DKA because of that.” I think that patients are playing an important role in this equation.

I’m sure a big goal for DreaMed is to lessen the burden on physicians in terms of needing to see patients so frequently.

In no way are we trying to make providers obsolete. We think that they are an essential part of patient care because at the end of the day, caring for a patient with type 1 diabetes or any type of diabetes is not just about numbers, it’s not just about the type of insulin. There are a lot of things behind it and we need our providers in the game.

Dr. Greg Forlenza from the Barbara Davis Center very nicely told me, “With your technology, I’ll finally be able to go back and practice the art of medicine and not be a technician.” I think that this is the service that we would like to bring to providers because if we’re able to let them go back to dealing and practicing the medicine, and we can take away some of the barriers, all the technicality and calculations, and we’re going to provide better, more frequent care for their patients. I think that everybody will be happy about that. One of the goals that we have for this year is to try to build the right model in order to make that happen.

We’ve heard that certain endos are starting to charge a co-pay for visits where they review CGM technology, which hasn’t previously been the case. So costs in terms of things like that seem to only be going up for these patients.

I understand what you’re saying, I think that we need to look at that. We have two sides to this. Number one: there’s the side of the provider that spends a lot of hours caring for their patients and the majority of these hours are non-billable time. In the end, we want to find a way for the providers to collect some of this money because we don’t want our doctors to lose money. We want them to sustain their business so they will be able to provide us better care.

But the magic here is creating that without significantly increasing the costs on the patient side. Because if it will increase the cost from the patient’s side, the patient will say, “I don’t want to download my data, don’t charge me for that” and that means we lose because then they’re not going to get that same tight control. These are some of the questions that we are trying to find answers to. How can we be innovative not just on the technology side but also on the commercial side to find a model that will be good for providers but also good for patients?

If someone is interested in utilizing DreaMed’s technology, where do they go from there? Do they just contact their physician and ask if they can use DreaMed?

Right now, that’s the right process. They need to go to the doctor and tell them, “I’ve heard about this cool technology, here’s the information,” and put some polite pressure on the doctor to explore the technology and see if they can implement it. If the clinic is using Glooko, we are integrated, so they can continue to use their Glooko account and we will be able to get into agreement with the clinic and open Advisor on top of Glooko.

If the clinic is using Tidepool, or if the patient has an account, we are also integrating data from Tidepool, so we will be able to just provide a clinic our standalone platform and then connect the clinic’s Tidepool account. From there, every time that a patient downloads his data through Tidepool, we would be able to pull that data and analyze it, then provide recommendations for the provider.

What do you envision as the next step? What’s ahead for DreaMed?

I think that next step from our end is to develop more technologies so we will be able to expand our intended users. We’re working to reach patients on multiple daily injections – that’s our first goal. Then we’ll go to those on insulin with Type 2, either multiple daily injections or basal only. That’s from the development side. For 2020, our main goal is to try to find the right commercial model and how we can have as many patients as possible enjoy this technology as fast as possible.

Can you talk a bit more about the importance of patients having access to any and all options?

I think that patients should have the right to get access to the top tier docs anywhere, anytime that they want to. But that doesn’t mean that they will be able to make all of their treatment decisions alone. I think that there is a great deal of importance in having healthcare providers as part of patient care. But I do think that it’s wrong for patients to have to wait for six months to see a doctor in order to change something in their treatment.

We need to find ways to make top tier treatment accessible to everyone… This is what we believe in. It’s in our mission to provide the best solutions for people with diabetes with our technology.

Do you have a personal connection to type 1 diabetes?

Nope. I don’t have a personal connection. I’ve been working in this business for 14 years. Seven years of my career was spent in the hospital. I was the technical guy in the clinic sitting in the corridors, talking to patients. We did closed loop studies and in those closed loop studies, we did 24-hour studies, stayed overnight, and took care of patients. So I have a very strong connection to people with diabetes.

The fact that we have the ability to provide something to improve their care is a privilege. It’s not something that everybody gets the chance to do in their lifetime. That’s why I’ve been a part of this for so long, this same type of work, because I don’t have a personal connection, but I have an emotional connection to people with diabetes.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Onederland: Poems About a Childhood with Type 1 Diabetes

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Eliza Skoler and Kelly Close

Jamie Kurtzig, a high school student living with type 1 diabetes, just published a book of 100 poems that she has written over the last ten years

Onederland: My Childhood with Type 1 Diabetes is a book of 100 poems recently published by a 15-year-old diabetes advocate, Jamie Kurtzig. The book takes readers through Jamie’s childhood, touching on themes of growing up, navigating challenges, and finding hope. We attended the book launch yesterday and were so impressed by Jamie’s discussions about diabetes. We asked her if she could give one piece of advice to families that reflected the sentiments of her own family, and she answered eloquently with a single word “Hope.” She continued, “Never lose hope.”

Jamie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was one year old and has been writing poems since the age of five. Her book is now available from Book PassageBarnes & Noble, and Amazon. We sat down with Jamie to learn about her poems and her vision for this book.

Jamie: I’ve always liked writing poetry; I wrote my first poem when I was five, and it’s actually included in the book. Writing poetry helps me express myself and make sense of things and think about things, so it’s been a really fun process. I’m excited that Onederland is now published.

What did you learn about yourself during this process?

Jamie: Diabetes has really influenced who I am, and it has also given me a passion for finding a cure, something I want to do for the rest of my life. I realized this while writing my book.

What do you most want people to know about Onederland?

BookJamie: All of the proceeds are going to diabetes non-profits – including The diaTribe Foundation – to help find a cure, one of my main goals. I would love to experience just one day where I do not need to check my finger or bolus for a meal or have glucose tabs for low blood sugar. I’m so lucky to live in the Bay Area and have access to tools to help me manage diabetes; we need to find a cure not only for people like me, but for people everywhere.

How did you go from the poems you’ve written over the last ten years to this incredible, finished book?

Jamie: I had these poems but didn’t know what to do to get them on paper, so I talked with Book Passage, an awesome local bookstore. They introduced me to great mentors, who helped me create a story arc — my story — so that the book evolves along with my life. I start with an intro of me (“Where I’m From”), and then move into some of the challenges in my life and how I’m dealing with them and working with them, and then into more hope. I also wanted to include an index so people could see how old I was when I wrote each poem.

What was the hardest part of publishing a book?

Jamie: Getting all the details right! I had to order three proofs before I caught all the mistakes.

Who are your favorite poets?

Jamie: Mary Oliver – I have a giant quote of hers on my wall. And also Emily Dickinson.

How did your family respond to your choice to publish a book of poetry?

Jamie: My mom has been so supportive of me. In everything I do she always supports me and helps me get things done – which is awesome because sometimes it’s hard for me to get from ideas into… a book!

We asked Sara Kurtzig, Jamie’s mom, to tell us a bit more.

How do you feel about Jamie’s book of poems?

Sara: So, so proud. She’s so graceful to me, and I so appreciate her way and her spirit, and I think it comes through in her book. I had never read her book until she asked me to read her proof. I read the whole thing on the airplane and I was in tears. She had to do a lot of work to make this happen. She had to figure it out. She picked the paper, she picked the font, she picked the title. It’s a lot of thinking. I feel that she did not cut corners and took the time to do all of it. And I am so proud. She did this all in her own way. And she is donating every penny to various diabetes non-profits. We can get a lot of places with that power.

Find Onederland: My Childhood with Type 1 Diabetes at Book PassageBarnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Jamie was a Junior Summer Associate in 2019, working with college students and recent college grads at The diaTribe Foundation and Close Concerns. She is also now a writer for diaTribe – read about her experience with Loop and her advocacy work at the 2019 JDRF Children’s Congress.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Surviving with Diabetes in Venezuela

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.By Carmen Sosa Editor’s Note: Carmen Sosa lives in Venezuela with her daughter Sofia, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008. Carmen began working as a donor mother at the hospital where her daughter was being cared for and she is now the coordinator […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

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