Tidepool was originally born out of my frustration of not being able to see my daughter Katie’s Medtronic pump and Dexcom CGM data in one place, at one time. How, in 2012, was it even remotely OK for me, as her parent, to not be able to easily access her data? How was I to know that her settings were OK, so that I was reassured that she wouldn’t have devastating low blood sugars in the middle of the night or while she was away at school, if I couldn’t even see her data?
On May 9, 2013, ten years ago today, “Tidepool” was born.
Tidepool was founded as a non-profit because of our desire to help people living with diabetes, not to generate a return for investors.
Tidepool’s progress was fueled by our desire to liberate diabetes data and make it meaningful. So people with diabetes and their care teams could get access to, and make sense out of, the confusing sea of numbers. So that researchers could more easily run studies expanding the bounds of effective diabetes care.
Tidepool’s work was further energized and inspired by the incredible work of the #WeAreNotWaiting community, the talented, courageous and selfless people who figured out how to make things better for themselves and their kids. Projects like Nightscout, OpenAPS, and DIY Loop made it clear that innovation that benefited people with diabetes was possible at a far faster pace than what was happening in the regulated device industry.
And then we wondered: How can we bridge that gap? Is there anything we can do to bring the regulated diabetes device and software industry closer to the pace of innovation seen in the DIY community? Along with Apple, Google, and more, tiny little Tidepool joined the FDA Pre-cert program to help the FDA re-think how medical device software would be regulated.
Tidepool’s commitment is that we will share everything we do back with the community. In addition to being an open source project, as we learn what it takes to bring a regulated product through the FDA to clearance, we share our quality management system and software development methods openly.
Our core values are as important to us as they ever were, and we strive every day to make our decisions and do our work based on them.
We’ve made huge strides in the last 10 years, and there is still much left to be done.
- Diabetes devices are still not truly interoperable. It’s still too hard for innovators to develop new solutions, and for people with diabetes to choose to use the solutions and combinations of devices that are right for them.
- Diabetes data is still not easily accessible to people living with diabetes using whatever software and apps they choose. Diabetes device companies still routinely erect business-focused barriers to data access.
We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished. Tidepool has grown from a modest effort to bring Medtronic CareLink and Dexcom data into one place known as “blip”, into a diabetes data management solution serving over 450,000 people living with diabetes, and growing fast by over 25,000 people per month.
We stood on the shoulders of the giants in the DIY community, and brought Tidepool Loop to the FDA and achieved 510(k) clearance for the first truly interoperable closed loop system.
Along the way, we were recognized by the White House for our work, and even got to talk about diabetes device interoperability with President Obama. That was pretty cool.
So while we will momentarily pause to reflect and celebrate all that has transpired over the past 10 years, our work is far from done. Tomorrow, we will get right back to it. Our future is bright, and we hope to have an even bigger impact, bringing our work to as many people as possible, with a renewed focus on access and equity. As we do this, we’ll continue to operate by our core values, always keeping the needs of people with diabetes first and foremost.
It is an honor to wake up each day and lead this incredibly passionate team of engineers, designers, and big thinkers in support of a mission that is no less ambitious than it was ten years ago when Tidepool was founded as a nonprofit organization—to make diabetes data more meaningful, accessible, and actionable.
To support our mission, you can make a donation here: https://www.tidepool.org/donate