Can Apple do anything different?
Before we begin today that fact that we are and have been writing about Apple and diabetes continues to amaze us. We are old to remember when Microsoft ruled the world and Apple yes Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. As Momma Kliff says often this is why real life is so much better than fiction as you never know what can happen from one day to the next.
Now onto business and the question needs to be asked and since no one is asking it we will – when it comes to diabetes can Apple do anything different? We know what the company hasn’t been able to do so far but even if by some miracle they can get the Apple Watch to measure glucose non-invasively that’s just another toy in the toy chest and the last thing we need is another toy in the toy chest.
What we need and what Apple could do if they choose to do it is to change the paradigm and make outcomes truly matter. Now this isn’t as easy as it sounds although every tech company including Apple’s neighbors in Mountain View are attempting to do just that.
We don’t want to beat a dead horse especially since we like horses but until the patient has skin in the game nothing will ever change. The way we look at it about 10% of the patient population gets it and will put in the work. On the other end of the spectrum 20% don’t get it and never will put in the work they just don’t give a damn and there isn’t much anyone can do that will change that. Yet 70% of patients and IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW THEY TREAT THEIR DIABETES understands that diabetes is a serious chronic condition that needs to be managed.
These are the people who want to live their lives with and not for diabetes. These are the people who want to diabetes management to part of their lives but not to run their lives. These are people who have a disease they do not understand didn’t want in the first place which requires work to manage properly. Yet the biggest indignity besides often times being treated like a child is even when they chose to do all the work and actually achieve better outcomes, they get nothing not even a pat on the back.
Let that sink in for just a moment. Think about all the things that these people endure every day and then add diabetes management to that.
IF and this is a huge IF anything is going to change and after 20 years of covering diabetes and billions spent nothing has – the PATIENT MUST HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME. Apple with their huge installed base of customers , billions in cash, focus on the consumer and tech savvy could have an impact but it won’t be easy. Yet the place to start is with the right goal which sounds obvious until you look at what everyone else has done.
It continues to amaze us that so many of these high-tech cash rich huge companies have made the deep dive into to diabetes without knowing how to swim. Their attitude seems to be not let’s accomplish a specific goal rather let’s throw it at the wall and see what sticks. What’s lacking is clarity of purpose a real mission not something esoteric like let’s improve the lives of people with diabetes. That is not a goal that is a wish for as Momma Kliff said you cannot measure what improving someone’s life is, but you can measure getting 50% of patients at an HbA1c at 7 or below.
What needs to happen what must happen if any of these techies are to be successful is for them to have clarity of purpose. To stop focusing on developing another way cool whiz bang toy. To stop and this will sound crazy but it’s true become a little more like the old guard. Hey Lilly, may not be way cool or whiz bang but they do have clarity of purpose they want to sell more insulin. Dexcom is way cool and whiz bang but at the end of the day their goal is to sell as many sensors as possible.
So, we’ll ask again can Apple with all their coolness all their money all their tech savvy do anything different? We don’t know the answer to that but a great place to start would be to have clarity of purpose. Diabetes is not a problem that can be wished away.