Can You Open Source your Healthcare, Please?

My wife, Amy, is a diabetic. No, not the type you’re thinking of. She was born with a predisposition to it and it fully developed when she was 9 years old. She has to live with glucose meters, carb counting and more to make sure she stays alive. She wears a diabetic insulin pump(which some people think is a pager…really?) that keeps her alive and it’s developed by a company called Medtronic. Amy has to test her blood sugar level around 8 times a day to make sure she isn’t straying away from her goal of normality.

Meeting an endocrinologist for the first time can be a daunting and anxiety-ridden ordeal. Medtronic currently has an app($99 in the App Store) that will track your glucose levels and store them for your endocrinologist. However, their data collection system, website and app are so outdated that they won’t work efficiently with “new” browsers and going to their site brings back the days of searching for things via “metacrawler.com”.

We immediately thought of an app with an updated UI that would not only take photos of each meal you were consuming, but store the estimated carb count and your glucose levels before and after each meal(including your insulin intake). Balancing your glucose level is an incredible feat when you take into account your basal rates, carb intake and so much more. I looked into making such an app, but the healthcare industry wants to make everything proprietary. We want an app that will do all of this, but save you the $99 because not every diabetic has that type of money.

Insulin already costs enough money to make a diabetic feel fleeced after a visit to Walgreen’s. Why not let a third party app contribute to Medtronic’s database? Money is the answer.

Healthcare is not the place for proprietary technology. People without the funds should be able to track their glucose and supply that information to their endocrinologist the same way someone who can afford the app does because this is a life or death matter. I have been learning enough to fairly confidently say I can recreate an app that does this, but at what cost?

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