Diabetes Innovator: Pam Henry
Constant phone calls with the school nurse about her then 6-year-old daughter's diabetes care prompted Pam Henry, 44, to create a new form of sharing key information—in real time.
After 18 months of development (her ideas and design, plus a software engineer's handiwork), Henry launched My Care Connect, a free online hub for caregivers and health care providers to report and view data on a person with diabetes in real time.
Henry's Blue Loop app is an extension of the online hub. (My Loop, a similar app for adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes as well as other health conditions, is expected to launch in the first half of 2013.) Those without My Care Connect accounts can still use the app, which also provides real-time updates on a child's diabetes management as well as a section for forms such as a 504 plan. The text-reminder function is especially useful. When Henry's daughter, Sarah, 16, continued to forget her diabetes bag before band practice, Henry set up a text-message alert for those twice-a-week rehearsals.
The app is straightforward and no-frills. "The other [apps] out there, you could tell they were written by engineers, not people with diabetes," she says. "We didn't add all the bells and whistles because the last thing a parent of a child with diabetes needs is confusion."
There's another reason Henry says the app has changed her family. Because she gets text updates each time Sarah inputs a blood glucose reading, Henry spends less time talking about diabetes care with her daughter and more time enjoying her company: "When I go in to tell her goodnight, I'm saying, 'Goodnight,' not 'Goodnight, and have you done your bedtime checks?' "