28 Oct A Man in Pink(Socks)
Post written by AJ Montpetit // @ajmontpetit
There are days where I feel that the health care industry is careening towards the edge of a cliff ala Thelma and Louise. Let me qualify a few things before diving in. I grew up in a time where paying for gas with your credit card and seeing the weather reports on a screen was the stuff of science fiction. Wikipedia for me was a three-book series of encyclopedias. My Kindle was the Stillwater Library. So when I say things are careening towards a cliff’s edge, it’s analogous to many of the systems in place that fail to acknowledge the ever-quickening pace of culture and life outside the walls of the health care world.
This is nothing new to anyone who has come to the PinkSocks blog, or have a pair to wear. What I want to write about though is the beauty of the time that we are living in, how well connected we all truly are, and the power that lies in those connections.
I met John Costik a few years ago in Ann Arbor at a We Make Health Fest, put on by the amazing Joyce Lee and team. When I heard his story of how he and his wife hacked their son’s continuous glucose monitor and built an app that worked in both iOS, and a Pebble smartwatch, I was floored. Instead of pricking their son’s finger every five to ten minutes, the app will tell them his level, how it’s trending, and adjust his insulin accordingly. What knocked me right out was seeing the global community that was built on a Facebook Group, the open source community improving the app and code, and it becoming the Nightscout Project. Thousands of people’s lives are better because of this community.
This is my favorite example of what’s possible through our connected world. Some others are like Dana Lewis, who is a Type 1 Diabetic also, and has lived over a year on a closed-loop system that her and her husband created. She has an artificial pancreas system that runs more efficiently than a non-diabetic pancreas.
Or take a look at Are You Dense, a legislative-focused group of advocates around the United States going from state-to-state to push for legislation to require doctors to tell women their breast density scores. The reason for this, and Dr. Nancy Cappello was one of these cases, is that women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of missing early detection of cancer because the dense tissue masks cancer in a traditional mammogram. If you knew your breast density score, and could get a second scan via a Molecular Breast Imaging scan (which uses gamma rays instead of x-rays, and shows cancerous tumors as small as 1mm by color variations) it could save your life, or at the very least, your breasts.
I wear pinksocks to be an advocate for us. For the connected generations (emphasis on the plural there) who don’t NEED to wait for the powers that be to save us. With the collective knowledge that we have, the expertise in so many fields, the low-cost to entry for so many technologies and systems, what are we waiting for?