Innovation Shaping Patient Solutions

Innovation Shaping Patient Solutions

04.11.12 | By Christian Clymer

Our guest post comes from Dennis Urbaniak, Vice President, U.S. Diabetes at Sanofi US.

Tomorrow, attendees at the PhRMA Annual Meeting will be discussing ways of improving health through innovation. I wanted to share some thoughts on this important topic as it relates to diabetes.

With one in 10 adults currently living with diabetes in the U.S., diabetes remains one of the largest health issues facing the U.S. today. The average person living with diabetes spends only six hours with their doctor in a given year, which means they are left with 8,754 hours to manage the condition on their own. With all of the information, treatment options, technology and general noise in the marketplace, it can be a challenge for people to manage their diabetes effectively.

Though these numbers are surprising and even alarming, they pose a unique opportunity for innovators to develop new tools providing people living with diabetes and their loved ones different ways to manage their diabetes.

At Sanofi US, we recognize this as an opportunity to deliver innovative solutions and serve as a valued partner to the diabetes community by listening and engaging in a dialogue. This has helped us to identify gaps and provide new solutions that are truly relevant and useful. With innovation as our motivator, we are forming partnerships to offer diagnostics, therapies, services, and devices, including a blood glucose meter.

In 2011, Sanofi US launched the Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge. The Innovation Challenge is aligned with the U.S. government's initiative to use an open dialogue to drive action toward a three-part aim: innovation in the quality, delivery and cost of diabetes care. Last year's winner, Ginger.io, transformed a mobile phone into an automatic self-monitoring tool for tracking real-time movement patterns and social interactions passively, without user input.

This year, we took the Innovation Challenge a step further by crowd-sourcing the public to determine what kind of innovation would meet its needs. The five semi-finalists are now working with mentors as they develop prototypes for their concepts, and will present to our panel of judges during a live Demo Day in New York on May 16 - a winner will be announced on July 16.

We engage with the diabetes community on an ongoing basis via Twitter, Facebook and the Discuss Diabetes Blog and know that they are in frequent communication - seeking answers, advice and support. This led us to develop Diabetapedia, a digital resource that launched in March 2012 and enables people to find definitions of common diabetes-related terms and phrases not easily found online. Additionally, Diabetapedia has a community-driven crowd-sourcing aspect - we are also seeking input on the terms and definitions.

Sanofi strives to help people manage the complex challenges of diabetes by going beyond the molecule to develop and deliver best-in-class innovative, integrated and personalized solutions that address real needs people have in managing their diabetes every day. We encourage our colleagues to continue to challenge the status quo, think outside of the box and provide innovative solutions.

Follow Dennis on Twitter @DUrbaniak.

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