D-Data ExChange: What About T2D?

In conjunction with the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions several weeks ago, Diabetes Mine hosted the D-Data ExChange. Over the past couple of years, the D-Data ExChange has become a gathering place for the big players in diabetes technology. There were fantastic presentations and discussions about diabetes data platforms, developments on the artificial pancreas, and updates from the DIY and #wearenotwaiting communities. There’s no doubt this is an exciting time for diabetes and data, and I’m confident this is just the beginning!

Even though I left this meeting with a lot of excitement and hope, there was something that was missing from the conversation: What about people with type 2 diabetes? Almost all of the discussion about use of data and technology was about type 1 diabetes. Many of the people in the room (myself included) have T1D and our personal experience drives our passion and where we focus our energy. But it left me wondering:

How can we use this same energy, passion and expertise to use to help the 30 million people in the United States who have type 2 diabetes?

We know data is a powerful tool in diabetes management. From a public health and economic perspective, it’s a no-brainer: we need to harness the power of data for people with type 2.

In many ways, I think how we use data for T2D is going to be much less sophisticated (and so less sexy) than how we use it for TID. For example, artificial pancreas technology is not appropriate for most people with type 2 diabetes. BUT that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dig into T2D data. We can use simple data in powerful ways to help people with T2D understand and manage diabetes much more effectively.

Let’s take the first step.

The first step is showing people with T2D how to collect and use their own data in meaningful ways. I know that this seemingly simple step will have a huge impact on these folks’ diabetes management. From there, the sky’s the limit and I’m going to leave the discussion of where it can go to people who are much smarter than me…

Before we can reach for the stars, we have to start the conversation and there’s no time like the present. Let’s take our learnings, and our passion for data in the type 1 world and use it to really start talking about how we can use it for people with type 2 diabetes. Let’s invite the right people and reserve time on the agenda to get the conversation going. Or better yet, how about a D-Data ExChange T2D? We have to start somewhere, and once we do that, we can go anywhere!

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Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE
Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE

Dr. Mark Heyman is a Clinical Psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator, with expertise in the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes, including changes that improve physical and mental health outcomes in people with diabetes. When Mark was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, he was frustrated by the lack of resources available to help people navigate the behavioral and emotional challenges of living with the disease. As a psychologist and CDE, Mark now uses his knowledge and experience to tackle the complexities associated with diabetes. Mark developed and currently leads the One Drop | Experts program. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University and completed his psychology internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the UCSD School of Medicine. Mark holds an appointment as a voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCSD Department of Psychiatry. In his spare time, Mark can be found performing with his improvisational comedy team *Inside Joke*. Find Mark on Twitter: @DiabeticPsych