We had the awesome opportunity to attend the Diabetes Tech Society conference and Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovation Summit over the past few weeks. By the end of the Medical Innovation Summit we were very tired, but brought a wealth of new experiences home with us from both conferences. Many pages could be dedicated to the different lessons we learned, but I will give my take on the major themes from each.
Diabetes Tech Society
The Diabetes Tech Society conference was very focused on the cutting edge technical research being done in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We were very interested to hear how researchers were attempting to lengthen the time that a continuous glucose monitor could be in the body, as well as other improvements to make treatment less intrusive. Much of the technology was focused on type 1 diabetes, but there were many different takes on type 2 diabetes as well. Interestingly many of the innovations presented for type 2 diabetes were low tech. There was also a focus on interdisciplinary solutions, bringing behavioral health to intersect with diet and design to promote the best outcomes. Everyone that we talked to was very open to working with our team and excited for the journey we had just embarked on.
Medical Innovation Summit
The Diabetes Tech Society put on an event that was very technically focused, with physicians and researchers collaborating on panels in front of the audience. Cleveland Clinic put on a much different event, focused instead on innovation and how to implement innovation at a hospital system level. We were able to hear from some of the leaders from the most prestigious institutions in the country. Topics spanned from patent law to behavioral models, from implementation to theory. We were able to hear from Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos and were brought up to speed on the latest expanses of IBMs Watson. In his book Where Good Ideas Come From Steven Johnson points out that innovation is spurred on by liquid networks and serendipitous relationships between different fields. At the Diabetes Tech Society we were brought up to speed on a lot of the work being done in the field of diabetes, in Cleveland we expanded our horizons with new connections and a better understand of how problems were being solved across the entire healthcare field.
Overall going to back-to-back conferences was a great experience. Our team was able to absorb information and learn more about the field while also meeting people who had a similar mission to ourselves. Many people are trying to improve health outcomes, and becoming part of that culture was a bit surreal, but very helpful.