Information about 2012 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge Demo Day

Our team is continuing to gear up for May 16th Demo Day, hard at work refining our product.  Here is some information below for anybody interested about Demo Day:

Join us for the 2012 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge Demo Day!

We can hardly contain our excitement as we prepare for the 2012 Innovation Challenge Demo Day! Join us in-person or online on May 16, 2012, and get an inside look at the five semi-finalists’ prototypes as they rally to win this year’s challenge.


1. Join us in New York City! 

Sign up to attend the 2012 Innovation Challenge Demo Day in New York City. A limited number of seats are available, so please RSVP to confirm your spot.

2. Watch Online

Visit on May 16, 2012 to view live-streaming video of the semi-finalists’ presentations. Presentations will run from 6:00pm – 8:00pm ET. Enjoy all the action of the live Demo Day presentations from your own home!

3. Attend a Viewing Party

Meet up with other viewers in your city by attending a Demo Day Viewing Party. Follow the Data Design Diabetes blog for an announcement on April 30, 2012 to learn about viewing parties happening near you! Interested in hosting a viewing party? Email

Following Demo Day, two finalists will be selected and awarded $10,000 to conduct a community uptake exercise to gather feedback about their concept. The winner will then be announced on July 16, 2012 and awarded $100,000 to further develop their concept.

To learn more about the Innovation Challenge and read a description of each prototype that will be showcased, please visit We’ll see you at Demo Day!


Get the latest from the Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge.

Innovation Challenge Website:

Innovation Challenge Blog:

Technology Innovation Challenges… More than the $$$

In this interview, Wil Yu, the special assistant of innovations and research and director of ONC’s SHARP (Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects) program, spoke with Government Health IT about the new preponderance of “app challenges.”  He talks about how, in addition to their financial support, the challenges provide a lot of non-financial support to the participants that in many ways is as meaningful.

As a current participant in a Design Innovation Challenge, I can vouch for his viewpoint.  Our team is getting great mentoring and support in developing our project, along with the camaraderie of working with the other semi-final teams towards a common goal.  While not every one of the teams in these challenges is going to be a resounding success, I hope that everyone’s work will at least push the needle towards meeting the IHI Triple Aim of patient-centered care that improves population health at a lower cost.

Exciting news: Semi-Finalist in Sanofi Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge

See the press release here from Fast Company and also announcement on Sanofi’s competition’s blog.  Our team is comprised of Saleh Adi, Yao Sun, Jenise Wong, and I, all physicians at UCSF.  I’m sure I speak for our whole team when I say that we are thrilled, humbled, and honored to be moving on in the competition.  Congratulations as well to the other semi-finalists.  It is great to be a part so many wonderful innovators around the US and the world trying to move diabetes care forward.

Diabetes is hard: A humbling experience with “Er5”

I don’t have diabetes.  But I do think about diabetes a lot, read about diabetes a lot, and certainly talk about diabetes a lot.  So, this past week, I decided it was time to walk the walk.  I opened up a shiny package for a new glucometer with the plan of monitoring my glucose 3 or 4 times a day for several days.  I actually read the instruction manual on how to properly set the time and date, and did so within a few minutes.  As long as I was going to do this, I at least wanted my data to be accurate, a true “quantified-self” experiment (of course, choosing a night where I went out for a hamburger and fries was a true test of my pancreas’ abilities!).

Then, like a know-it-all physician, I tried to check my sugar.  “Er5” said the screen.  Hmmm.  Did it again.  Punched hole #2 in my finger.  Ouch.  “Er5.”  Maybe I didn’t get a big enough drop of blood.  So, I cranked up the dial on the lancet device from “3” to “9” so I could get the deepest finger puncture and guarantee a burgundy nugget for the test strip.  This time, “ouch” out loud.  “Er5” on the screen again.  I did this several times, howling in pain down the hall of my apartment, and said to my fiancee, “this hurts!  I can’t believe I ask people to check their sugar multiple times a day!  And worse, I can’t even do it right!”  At this point, I figured the test strips must be defective so I googled “Er5 onetouch ultramini” to see what was going wrong.

I didn’t have another vial of test strips so I was hopeful that “test strip damage” was not my issue.  If it was, my experiment would be over rather quickly.  I had to read a little further to find out that an “incompletely filled confirmation window” actually means, “you are not putting the blood on the test strip properly.”  It turns out, rather than placing the drop of blood to the side of the test strip for it to be sucked in to a small channel, I had been just plopping the blood on top of the strip.  Whoops!  Embarrassing!

After discarding nearly a dozen wasted test strips into the garbage, I finally struck gold and got a real, live number on the screen.  “86” it read, and though my finger stung, I had finally erased the humiliating sting of “Er5.”  For the next 24 hours, I checked my fingerstick on schedule, but noticed that it REALLY hurt and that I had to talk myself into pressing that button on the lancet each time, knowing the pain that would follow.  I commented about this to one of our diabetes educators, Catherine, who laughed and spent ten minutes showing me the proper way to use a lancet to get a blood sample, ie using the side of my finger instead of the tip and shaking my hand toward the floor to get blood flowing into it.  Turns out, if you do it the right way, you can get a drop of blood with a lot more ease and a lot less pain.  Though I consider myself pretty good at helping analyze blood sugar patterns, I finally now, after four years of medical school, three years of Internal Medicine residency, a year as Internal Medicine faculty, and nearly a year of Endocrinology fellowship, actually know the right way to check a blood sugar.

Luckily for me, this experience was only that, and is not something I have to endure on a daily basis.  But as I spend my career trying to improve diabetes technology and caring for those of you with diabetes, you can at least know, that I do understand your pain.  And if a patient one day asks me why her meter says “Er5,” I hope she will forgive me if I take a moment to laugh at the dozen half-filled-with-blood test strips in my garbage can.

Why diabetes? Why a blog? Why me?

Why diabetes?

Because diabetes is not just about science and pathophysiology.  Beyond the science, it is about culture, food, behavior and habits, and many other daily events in peoples’ lives.  I am a physician not only because I am captivated by the elegance of human physiology, but also because I am privileged to spend every day learning about my patients, who they are, and what their goals are.  I try to focus as much attention on each patient’s experience with disease as on his or her medical diagnosis and treatment.  This dual focus is essential to practicing diabetes care.

Because taking care of diabetes requires a LOT of work.  I am hopeful that new innovations will ease the burden on both patient and provider.

Why a blog?

Because, someday, diabetes will be “solved” by either an immunological solution or an artificial pancreas.  In the meantime, we have a rapidly growing arsenal of tools and new technologies to help treat patients.  Some will be useful, some will not.  As I have spent countless hours tracking Google News, blogs, and Twitter feeds to keep abreast of the latest, it only seems logical to share, or re-share, what I am able to collect (along with some commentary).

Because I live in San Francisco and everybody blogs.

Why me?

Because my first introduction to the medical field was diabetes.  I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a week as a medical staff assistant at a summer camp for teenagers with diabetes and was immediately inspired.  As an American Studies major at Northwestern, I wrote my thesis on the “Social and Cultural Barriers to Treating Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Urban Latinos.”  I’m now a fellow, training in Endocrinology, planning a career in caring for patients with diabetes.

Because I believe that technological innovations will help us make diabetes care more effective and more efficient.  I find technology fun and exciting, but am wary of implementing something new and shiny only because it is new and shiny (or even worse, has poor usability).  Technology must be used to make diabetes care either better, or cheaper, or both.

Thank you for reading.  I hope that this blog will serve as useful to both patients and those in the healthcare field seeking information on the latest advancements in diabetes technology.