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Thursday / April 18.

The American Diabetes Association Reveals Its Digital Health Strategy

ENGLEWOOD, CO – The American Diabetes Association (ADA) convened a special meeting with several members of the Colorado digital health ecosystem last Thursday. Held at the headquarters of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in Englewood, Colorado, the meeting was intended to introduce members of the ecosystem to the ADA’s new digital health strategy.

“We’ve started looking at what we call the go-to-market value proposition,” said Peter Banfield, senior vice president of business operations at the ADA. “We’re doing this by exploring exactly how the ADA can go to market with those companies in the diabetes ecosystem that are attempting to positively affect outcomes for people with diabetes or those who may be at risk for it.”

Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, the CEO of MGMA, gave the opening remarks.

Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, the CEO of MGMA, gave the opening remarks at the ADA’s Digital Health Stakeholder Meeting.

According to Banfield, the ADA is already exploring how it can work with major EHR vendors to improve the collection of diabetes-associated information. It is also consulting with big data experts to make better use of its own diabetes data, and collaborating with companies in Silicon Valley to identify new ways of reaching its constituents. In an attempt to expand the ADA’s involvement in digital health, Dr. Jane Chang, the organization’s vice president of medical technology, recently developed a series of objectives that together comprise the ADA’s near-term strategy.

“The first objective is to transform outcomes for people with diabetes by giving them quality technical tools to help manage their disease on a day-to-day basis,” Banfield said. “We’re looking into helping facilitate the development of those apps by convening individuals, companies, and others in that process.”

In addition to this objective, the ADA is exploring ways to play a larger role in guiding clinical studies, establishing standards of care, and improving medical practice through the use of digital health technology. Banfield cited Diabetes INSIDE, an initiative designed to assess hospitals and help them improve outcomes for patients with diabetes, as an example of his organization’s efforts.

Tom Higley, the Founder of 10.10.10, spoke about the Colorado digital health ecosystem.

Tom Higley, the Founder of 10.10.10, spoke about Colorado’s digital health ecosystem.

“But our big issue right now is getting enough people bought in in a measurable way so we can make progress on these objectives in a breakthrough fashion,” Banfield said, describing the major obstacle to implementing the ADA’s new strategy. “The problem is that the industry is moving so fast. We need to identify key areas of alignment where we can have a measured impact on a global scale together.”

The recently announced decision of the ADA to become a tenant of Catalyst HTI when it opens in early 2018 was also presented as an important component of the diabetes advocacy organization’s digital health strategy. Several of those present at the meeting came from organizations that had already joined the upcoming digital health hub, including 10.10.10, Prime Health, Boomtown Health-Tech Accelerator, Mines & Associates, and MGMA. According to Sue Glass, the Vice President of the ADA’s Western Division, last Thursday’s meeting was largely intended to jumpstart the collaborations that Catalyst HTI has promised to foster when it opens.

“At the American Diabetes Association, we have an audacious vision,” Glass said, “and that is to live a life free of diabetes and its burdens. We won’t be able to get there without working together, collaborating, innovating, and activating. We need to work with all of you here today and our partners across the country to be able to make this a reality for our organization.”

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