Joslin Diabetes Center adds digital health division, partners with Dexcom

By Aditi Pai
10:26 am
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Glooko tool created in partnership with Joslin HypoMap, a tool created by Glooko in partnership with Joslin

Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center has created a new non-profit division, called Joslin Institute for Technology Translation (JITT), so that the healthcare organization can collaborate with companies currently developing tools for people with diabetes, according to a press release.

"Working with our CEO John Brooks, we thought that this was a good time to highlight what Joslin does to assist technology for digital health companies," Joslin Institute for Technology Translation Executive Director Harry Mitchell told MobiHealthNews. "There are a lot of organizations and groups talking about digital health and by identifying the Joslin Institute and attracting members to be part of that institute, it shows that Joslin is not just talking the talk, as they say, we are walking this path."

The new division will work with physicians to design decision support tools for managing insulin and glucose tracking, partner with medical device and technology companies so that Joslin can push for the creation of digital health tools focused on diabetes, and develop educational programs that help healthcare professionals and patients adopt the new tools. While Joslin already has a division dedicated to educating physicians and patients about tools for diabetes, called Joslin Health Solutions, the new initiative will provide an emphasis on educating patients and physicians specifically about digital health tools.

Joslin's first partnership is with San Diego, California-based Dexcom, maker of continuous glucose monitoring systems for patients.

Mitchell said a big reason Joslin launched the program is that the center has been speaking with an increasing number of medical device companies that want advice and guidance on clinical matters affecting diabetes patient care.

"It's something new, yes, but it's also not new because we have always been working with medical device and technology companies," Mitchell said. "However, the good news for diabetes patient care is medical devices and technology companies realize that they have to be closer to companies like Joslin that have the clinical connections and expertise in patient care."

On top of receiving insights from patients and physicians, medical device companies that partner with Joslin Diabetes Center likely receive help in interpreting the data that they are collecting from patients.

"As you know there's tons of apps out there and there's tons of ways to accumulate data," Mitchell said. "But what Joslin does is we take a look and integrate that data to provide solutions, and that's where we get involved to advise technology and medical device companies. [This data] would have an impact on the design of their product."

Joslin aims to expand its interaction with medical device and technology companies so that more companies start seeking out advice on how to better develop new products.

"I see Joslin Diabetes Center as a powerful voice in diabetes clinician research, not only here, but on a global scale," Mitchell said. "I see that the Joslin Technology Institute is also going to be a powerful voice, just in the area of technology, digital health, mobile apps, and all of that as far as providing guidance from a clinical perspective to move diabetes care to digital health. That’s so important for us -- to provide the best patient care, number one, but also reduce the cost of healthcare."

So far Joslin is in talks with 10 other technology companies who are interested in partnering with the Institute. Mitchell added that one example of the kind of tools that the Joslin Institute for Technology Translation wants to help develop is the HypoMap that recently Joslin partnered with Glooko to launch. HypoMap is a patient-facing platform to help increase patients’ awareness of hypoglycemic events.

"This is our first dance into that particular arena where we had developed a hypoglycemia concept and app that is not available that we believe will have the ability to improve self management for patients with diabetes," Mitchell said. "And we were able to partner with Glooko...So, once again we are not a technology company, so we developed this hypoglycemia product called the Joslin HypoMap and we’re using Glooko’s technology platform to be able to offer that to the industry."

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