Monday, March 15, 2010

Passionate Men

His eyes tear up. His voice wavers, his face emotional as pictures of his daughter and her future fiance flash on a large screen at the front of the room. That emotion is only so brief, before the man's composure returns and he returns to talking about his mission that wouldn't exist without that daughter.

Another man stands in the same room that day, sharing stories and talking about his own experiences with his teenage daughter. His eyes tell their own story, one that clearly shows he simply wants his girl to have the chance to live a full and productive life, to grow up and be happy like the first man's daughter who now has a promise ring to be engaged. Standing on a beach with a sunset in the background, the embodiment of happiness and perfection that makes the heart melt with joy.

Both men share a passion for their children. But their bond goes deeper, in that each daughter is a Type 1 diabetic. That's why these two men, and so many countless other parents of Type 1 diabetics, do what they do. These men and those like them (D-Moms too!) are on the cutting edge in their respective worlds, and what they do overlaps with countless others and is reshaping how we all Live With Diabetes.

That first man is Jeff Hitchcock, president and CEO of the influential Children With Diabetes organization that touches millions of diabetics, families, and people throughout the world. His daughter had been diagnosed in 1989 at 24 months old. He recalls not having any connection to other parents struggling to care for their D-Child. So this diabetic dad in 1995 tapped into the relatively new Internet and created an online community for those living with diabetes. We know now that this was a pivotal moment in spawning the still-evolving Diabetes Online Community, and CWD has become one of the powerful players connecting so many of us and touching millions of lives. J&J-Animas in 2008 acquired his company and it now fits into that corporate plan, but Hitchcock's creation began with a passion spawned by his daughter's life with diabetes. They have yearly conferences nationally and reach out globally. But while all of that is inspirational and important, this leader's eyes sparkle the most when speaking about his now 22-year-old daughter living a successful life. That's when he's not the CWD Creator - he's simply a passionate D-Dad. Who had a great idea and the passion to get it off the ground.

Mr. Hitchock came to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis on Saturday and a few dozen people came out to hear him speak. About his family's story, CWD history, upcoming conferences, and general diabetes issues and care suggestions from his perspective.

One person who attended the event was James Jordan, a D-Dad from the northside of Indianapolis who is also passionate. His daughter was diagnosed at 3, just a month before her 4th birthday, and she's now in her early teens. As a result of her diabetes, he's developing a very remarkable concept in diabetes management through his company Strategic Data Management. Using a Business Intelligence platform, Jordan is creating a new web-based portal designed to help diabetics combine all of their insulin pump, blood meter, and CGM data into one place online and get that to their doctors quickly and efficiently. Two local hospitals are piloting this portal and many big players are expressing interest in this concept. Here's a news release. And a recent Q&A in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

"I’ve always been very frustrated with the tool set being provided by the name brand manufacturers," Jordan says. "The tool set is very complicated. You look at it and you’ve got to be a Ph.D. to know what you’re looking at."

Personally, I met Jim and his wife Lynn and their daughter back in January for the first time. At a meeting about their new concept that really got started back in late 2009. Saw what it was, and started using it personally. Others in the Indianapolis area have also signed on to trial-test this online tool, and Jordan says so far it's very positive from users and health care folk who've seen it in action. While it's still in its infancy and being developed by Jordan mostly in a volunteer off-the-clock capacity, I am impressed. It crosses the lines we typically see created by companies who want to sell their own products and stop People with Diabetes from merging everything in the most efficient way. It hits that unfilled-need of giving doctors a way to get all of that merged data in an efficient format that doesn't have to change based on the patient.

In the coming months, Jordan's goal is to have paying customers. The business model: selling this to the medical and service providers, to the device manufacturers, to the payers. But it's free for the consumer. They hope to work with providers and be able to use the system to submit a claim for the work that doctor is doing on the portal as far as reviewing and managing data - since it's basically "free time" now built into general overhead costs. This would fall under preventive maintenance, and it'd helps them get paid for their time. Among some local hospitals and Endos - both pediatric and adult - Jordan is talking to "big players" that also includes the JDRF and state FSSA. Being in Indy, a healthcare corridor where players like Lilly, Roche, and Wellpoint-Anthem are based, Jordan's concept is in a prime place to get some footing before expanding beyond the Hoosier homefront.

On Saturday, Jeff and Jim met and had a conversation. Two D-Dads. Two great minds. A math man and a tech business man. Lots of passion. Standing nearby and watching these two talk, and seeing them both speak individually to others about their respective projects, their passion shined through more clearly than any business-model or bottom line. You could see it in their eyes, expressions, emotions, and body movements. You know and don't have to question the motivation for what these two men are doing.

This brought a smile to my face. To my heart. It provides me with Hope.

This is how progress happens. This is how we're going to Find a Cure. Because of these kind of people. This kind of passion. Who do what they do for their kids. All kids. Those Kids Who Grow Up. The families touched. Everyone who ever lives with diabetes, whatever the variety or when it enters their life. What drives Jeff and Jim is echoed across the globe, in all of us and those we know. That passion is changing our world.

Who knows what the future holds.

2 comments:

Crystal said...

AWEsome.
That is all.
:-)

Anonymous said...

One of the things I dislike about my Animas Ping is that there is no way to combine the data from it with the data from my Navigator. The Navigator and the Cozmo will both go into the Abbott software and give me nice graphs and with the combined data. But once I lose the Cozmo, the data will no longer be able to be combined. It is great when you are able to see the pump with the CGMS data all together.

Some users, like long-standing adult PWD or parents, monitor themselves at home and have been taught by their Drs how to change doses based on the data. My Dr doesn't require me to call or write him about every change, only if I can't figure out something on my own. He says I am the best judge of my care and needs, he's just there to advise. He’s not a control freak at all.