If you spot me working on this blog (likely in a coffee shop, Barnes and Noble, or library), you will have seen my light pink computer with one, sole sticker from Tidepool. Clothing brand? No. Fitness gizmo? Negative. Instead, Tidepool is a powerful data collection and analysis tool. One that will change the way individuals with diabetes can integrate data and contribute that data to change the way we live with diabetes in the future. Exciting stuff.
I found out about Tidepool from Chris Snider at the JDRF TypeOneNation Research Summit-- he was representing Tidepool while I speaking on balancing sports and T1D management. Not only is Chris the Community Manager for Tidepool, but he also has T1D himself and hosts a podcast: Just Talking. I even got the opportunity to sit down with Chris and talk about med school, The Marathon We Live, running the Boston Marathon, and cheering for the Washington Capitals.
Here, Chris shares Tidepool's mission, uses, and future directions.
Tidepool is many things, to many people. First and foremost, we are a nonprofit organization with a mission to make diabetes data more accessible, actionable, and meaningful. We do this by visualizing and integrating diabetes data from most pumps, meters, and CGMs into a single location. This means if you’re wearing a Dexcom G5, a FreeStyle Libre, a t:slim X2, an OmniPod, or any of our other supported devices, you can upload your data to Tidepool.
We are an open source project. This means all of our code, and our Trello boards showing what we are working on are open to the public. If you’re comfortable navigating around GitHub, you can poke around to see all of the improvements that we are in the process of testing. If you are curious about what we’ve done and what we plan to tackle next, all of that information is open to the public along with our meeting minutes with the FDA, our security practices, and past tax documents.
We are fierce diabetes advocates. Most of the Tidepool team is either living with or caring for someone with diabetes. For us, this mission is personal. We know what’s at stake. We understand and appreciate the importance of getting all of this right. In my case, I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and my wife has type 1 diabetes as well.
For me, Tidepool is an opportunity to represent the diabetes community as we determine what aspects of our software are most important to focus on and deciding where to go next. This, in particular, is one of my biggest prides as Tidepool’s Community Manager.
We are also pushing the potential of diabetes research and innovation with the Tidepool Big Data Donation Project. Tidepool users can choose to anonymously donate their data to support researchers and innovators. We de-identify the donated data and make those datasets available to researchers and industry partners. Additionally, we donate 10% of the proceeds we make from licensing these datasets back to other diabetes nonprofit organizations like JDRF, Beyond Type 1, Nightscout Foundation, DiabetesSisters, and more.
This project is particularly ambitious because in order for it to succeed, we are relying on the entire Tidepool community to support this initiative. Through their generosity and trust, we are making their data available to researchers, innovators, academics, and anyone with a grand idea that requires a lot of data to investigate. Our goal is to move diabetes innovation from buzzwords to reality: artificial pancreas algorithms, smarter and more effective insulins, or ideas and applications we couldn’t imagine in our wildest dreams will have the benefit of real world data to help refine and iterate on their way to market.
None of this is possible without the support of the diabetes community. If you’d like to give Tidepool try, you can create your free account and sign up to donate your data at tidepool.org/signup. The list of devices we support is growing, and we will be adding Medtronic 6-series pumps later this year. If you’re using something we don’t yet support, please let me know.
Christopher Snider, Community Manager