“Wait. Is that it? Did the needle already go in? I can’t believe it!”
I just shared this Instagram response video to the new Dexcom G6 with my client and friend. Over the last few years, Ryan and I have worked with a giant team to design, engineer and bring their latest continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to market. Now that our work is mostly done and the CGM is in the hands of the first group of Type I diabetic users, we can’t stop sharing these little bursts of emotion shared on Instagram and YouTube. It’s a rare treat to see the direct impact your efforts have on the people who use the products you’ve worked on. Especially when it comes to medical products.
Our medical design practice touches so many people including patients, technicians, nurses and doctors, but often the patients are asleep when the devices are being used or unaware how equipment contributes to their care. For instance, our work on a heart valve replacement system provides lifesaving care but is used on a patient under anesthesia. And one step removed from the patient, our work on laboratory diagnostic systems happens in a lab and the patient only experiences a blood draw and then receives results at a later time – a true black box experience.
Nurses, doctors and surgeons are fantastic customers. These highly skilled health care providers develop their own techniques and have preferences for the tools they use. To please them, you need to deliver a device that at a minimum doesn’t get in their way and ideally augments their talent. But to get good feedback about your work on these types of products you need to talk directly with users. Doctors will rarely comment about their tools in public or on social media.
So when we started seeing the passionate Instagram posts and YouTube videos coming in, we took a moment to soak it in.
The power of this feedback also demonstrates the impact that this user group has on the future of their diabetic care. We have seen the financial clout that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) wields. We have cheered as a dad hacked his kid’s CGM and insulin pump to create a closed-loop “artificial pancreas” and then founded Bigfoot Biomedical to bring this system to others. And now we’ve waited with anticipation to see how the G6 would be received by kids, parents, and the closely-knit Type I diabetic community. But the early reviews are better than I could have hoped. Users are genuinely elated with the pain-free sensor insertion, the simplicity of the applicator and design of the transmitter, and maybe best of all, not having to prick their finger anymore.
If you want to learn more about our collaboration with Dexcom, check out our case study here.