Using no code to help families better manage diabetes
Published on 24 September 2020
Enter Diabetes Dashboard; an all in one personal diabetes management platform designed to improve people's abilities to manage and care for people with diabetes.
Matthew Doyle, creator to Diabetes Dashboard shares his journey of how he turned a personal problem into a business solution to help other people improve their lives, with Rockhampton Regional Council’s Smart Hub Business Manager, Elize Hattin.
DIABETES DIAGNOSIS: DON’T SUGAR COAT IT.
Diabetes is recognised as the world's fastest growing chronic condition. Diabetes requires daily self-care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy.
Matthew says it is not just people living with diabetes who are impacted by the condition.
“It impacts an awful lot of people around you as well, in your family and in your broader personal network.
“The exact date became really personal, it was the 5th of June, 2018…the day that Levi was diagnosed.
“In the lead up to that diagnosis, there was kind of the tell-tale signs, such as excessive thirst and constantly going to the toilet, weight loss that we probably didn't pick up until he'd been diagnosed and lethargy…can be signs of diabetes,” Matthew explains.
When his son registered a blood sugar level of 33.1, which is several times higher than the level of someone without diabetes, Matthew knew Levi had a condition which would change all their lives in an instant.
“We got him to hospital, and we stayed for a week, and went through what felt like a master's degree in diabetes management because they just throw everything at you.
“Once they let you out the door of the hospital, you've got to manage this thing,” he says.
Following Levi’s diagnosis, Matthew and wife Veronica found themselves tracking and managing every blood sugar reading and everything they could to better understand and manage the condition.
At the time, the management method for multiple daily injections (MDI) was a record in a logbook. Levi’s finger prick results also had to be recorded every two hours, including at half past two in the morning when his basal insulin was at its peak.
“I very quickly found an app that we could record it in, but it was still a lot of manual data entry.
“Then as we were getting ready for Levi to go to kindy, we realised there was just an awful lot of information to put together for the teachers. We needed something that could give them all the critical information they needed to know for him, including doctors contacts, our emergency contacts and all of that kind of stuff.
“I just wanted to have this really easy reference sheet online, so to speak, that people could turn to,” Matthew explains.
Applying the sales funnel software he was using at the time, Matthew created the first, crude prototype of Diabetes Dashboard.
With his first minimal viable product (MVP) created to help Levi’s school teachers, the next step involved ensuring he was providing the right information to teachers and whether there was any critical information missing.
When a diabetes educator said that she wanted every patient of hers to have access to Matthew’s Diabetes Dashboard, he knew he could turn it into a business.
“So began the journey of, how do I commercialise this?
“I was thinking, if we can commercialise this into a business, that can allow me to build a slush fund for Levi that's going to help him to pay for whatever it takes to manage his health for the rest of his life.
“Then I thought we can make a lot more than we need just for him and we can help a lot more people with the money we could make out of this.
“So that dream was now borne to make this a commercially usable platform that we can then use to help people all around the world get access to care and education that they otherwise wouldn't get access to,” Matthew explains.
The only problem with Matthew’s MVP was that it only housed Levi’s information and would only work for him.
Matthew then began exploring how he could take it and make it work for someone other than himself, in a bigger scale?
Conversations with fellow Smart hub members lead Matthew to start recreating Diabetes Dashboard using the no code platform, Bubble.io which enables users to design, develop, and launch powerful web apps without writing code.
“A lot of what we're building in Diabetes Dashboard isn't highly technical. It pulls a lot of things together and presents them in a way that's helpful and uses alerts and messages and those kinds of things.
“We want it to be an all in one place management platform. If you want to do anything to manage your diabetes, you just use this app. So the app can pull information in and display it and it can push notifications out, so it's the same as the alerts that we have. Now when alarms go off, the app can do its own maths to point out trends.
“We've been able to plug all that into Bubble.io, which we really made just using drag and drop information.
The other bonus of creating a no code app using Bubble.io is the cost efficiency, as you only pay once it goes live.
Matthew is now using Levi’s information to test how it works and make sure he can fix anything that breaks in the platform.
He has also configured a report template which he can print and present to Levi’s paediatric specialists.
Currently in the process of patenting Diabetes Dashboard, Matthew says the next step in the journey will involve beta testing the platform with diverse users, both nationally and internationally, to find any the bugs before launching it at scale.
“It's going to have uses for the person with diabetes, plus the people right throughout their care network, as well as diabetes educators.
“As far as Levi's concerned, we'll want his diabetes educator, his doctor and his school teachers using it, because it'll have the functionality that if Levi has a problem one night, or we make a change to his insulin, then just like sending a tweet, I'll be able to jump in and advise his care network, "We changed Levi's insulin to this," and everybody who's following him will get a notification to know that we've made a change to his insulin,” he explains.
Matthew pre-empts having to fix any problems revealed during beta testing before going live, as well as user feedback, market research and use of features to further hone the platform, before going down the pathway of getting launch ready.
For anyone trying to find a solution to a problem like this, Matthew suggests first defining the problem before presuming you know the best solution to fix it.
You can go a long way down building an app, and realise, you have never really defined the reason for building the app in the first place. An app might not be the best mode, or I could build it to suit what I want, and then find nobody else wants it.
“Sometimes what we think is a problem is not the actual problem. We need to define the problem that we are solving first, and then explore what are options to solve that problem.
“The problem we started out with was we've got a ton of information to share that we want to try to distil down and make it readily available in the Diabetes Dashboard.
“It started as an information and education page then evolved from there. We realised there were other problems we could solve by bringing everything together into one place,” he reflected.
Then begin building and testing, while always making sure you are defining who you are solving the problem for.
Matthew says it is vital to know who your target market is.
“I've got people with diabetes, I've got their parents and carers, and I've got their medical professionals, and I've got their teachers.
“These are all different customers, and we're actually trying the build Diabetes Dashboard for all of them in different ways. Making sure you know who you're building it for, what their problem is and how you solve that problem is critical,” Matthew advises.
He encourages everyone to test their idea, saying “If you've got that idea, it’s really, really easy to try without spending a whole lot of money,” he reassures.
Matthew says somebody with diabetes will make an additional 150 decisions a day, as opposed to somebody who does not have the condition.
Diabetes Dashboard aims to empower people to improve the quality and the access to diabetes care management and education right around the world, particularly in places where they do not have access to quality care and medical support.
Are you a person living with, or caring for someone with diabetes? Be one of the first to beta test the Diabetes Dashboard by visiting diabetesdashboard.io and follow the prompts to join the waiting list.
Matthew Doyle is the founder of Diabetes Dashboard and is a SmartHub member.
The SmartHub encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to adopt technology and modern based business practice to make the entire business journey more profitable, more enjoyable, more effective, and more efficient.
Being part of the SmartHub gives local business owners opportunities to meet with and learn from mentors, to help them learn the discipline required to succeed in business.
The SmartHub is currently offering free membership now (usually $51 a month or more depending on level of membership). If you would like to learn more about becoming part of the SmartHub, contact us via the following channels:
Phone: 07 4936 8444