Dr. Dyer is a pediatric endocrinology physician in private practice, social media enthusiast (@EndoGoddess), Stanford artificial pancreas researcher, and app developer/mobile health entrepreneur. With Duet Health (acquired by MedData Inc.), she developed the EndoGoddess App and the EndoGoal App. In collaboration with The Ohio State University College of Engineering and Computer Science, she's developed a ninja game for kids with diabetes. A few weeks ago, Dr. Dyer presented on gamification at the 2016 DiabetesMine Innovation Summit. One Drop had the privilege of talking with her about her impressions of the Summit, translating science to technology, and prescribing health apps.
What got you excited today?
Making solutions is what energizes me! When you make solutions that are different than everything else, you can feel a little alone. I don't feel alone here. I'm hearing some of the same messages I've been preaching — about what works and doesn't work. Dr. David Sobel was awesome! He talked about personalizing messages and finding out what matters the most to patients to improve quality of life. He gave really good suggestions I'm going to incorporate in our practice. I've been doing some of them, but not as organized as he presented. I'm excited to incorporate those!
How do you translate behavioral science into a technical product?
First of all, people have to have “readiness for change” and “confidence to change.” In a technology game, like the one I'm releasing next month, I incorporated questions that ask users how ready they are for change and how confident they are that they can change. In my new game, users get points towards becoming a diabetes ninja for answering these questions. That way, we can see if these things are barriers to or facilitators of people benefiting from the game.
We have over 200,000 health apps and 9 out of 10 people who want to be prescribed a health app. What is the resistance to prescribing apps?
The challenge is something as easy or as obvious as asking patients what they enjoy in life is a novel concept to some providers. These are the same providers that don't think about apps or care about apps because they're not thinking about the patient experience unless they have diabetes. If providers want to help their patients and change health outcomes, they need to think like a patient. If every patient likes bowling, then every doctor needs to be at a bowling alley. As a pediatric endocrinologist, my patients like apps. They like games. They use their phone for everything. To think of a teenager without a phone?! I've naturally been drawn to technology because that's my opportunity to help my patients. Technology is a huge part of their world. A lot of times my patients know about the apps before I recommend them. What drives my recommendation is whether or not an app has a good user experience and is helpful. It really comes down to what my patients are saying. I do a count in the back of my mind of what my patients like. I have my own thoughts, but it doesn't matter what I think. It matters what they think.
Any final words?
Anything that makes life easier for people with diabetes is going to be a successful product!