2021 is the 100th year anniversary of the discovery of insulin. A pretty spectacular moment in medicine as it changed the lives of millions. Reminiscing on this moment from the history of diabetes, we decided to share the story of how Diabetes:M came to be and what inspired its’ creation. Who made it all possible? Rossen Varbanov, CEO of Sirma Medical Systems (the company behind Diabetes:M) who had both the idea and the skill to make something extraordinary.
But let’s start from the beginning…
It’s 2012 and Rossen, a type 1 diabetic, had just switched to a CGM pump. As he was getting used to this new treatment, he was looking for a place to store all the data on his diabetes condition. However, when he was exploring the available options for mobile applications for diabetes, he was quite disappointed with the results. The available options had very limited functionalities and did not meet his needs. Working as a software developer, Rossen decided to create his own system that would store and analyze all the data that came from his insulin pump. After all, as a fellow PWD, he knew best what functionalities were key for an app of this kind. The idea was born and so, it began…
After months of hard work, in 2013 the first version of Diabetes:M was a reality. It was very different from the app we have today, but it still provided an outstanding opportunity for diabetes management. One of the major difficulties was that Diabetes:M 0.1 would not connect to an insulin pump. The data from the CGM would go on separate online software, meaning that Rossen had to import the data manually every few days. Despite this, he launched the application on Google Play, and soon after, it gained a loyal following even though it was available only for Android users.
One of the first features to be implemented was the graph for insulin ups and downs. It was very useful because it helped the user gain a better understanding of their daily blood sugar fluctuations. This inspired Rossen to build on the feature, and he designed the next version of the app to configure insulin sensitivity, creating more graph and statistic options. In time, a number of truly useful features were introduced, and Diabetes:M started to be recognized in various rankings for diabetes mobile applications.
Listening to the user
Up to this point, Diabetes:M was designed only for CGM pump users, but after receiving a massive following, Rossen was inspired to make the app available for any type of diabetes treatment. Around this time, the company Sirma Medical Systems was founded with Rossen as CEO, helping him realize the scope of his app‘s influence.
In time, numerous improvements were welcomed, making the application more diverse and helpful. What made it so successful was listening to the users and implementing their suggestions. For example, the blood sugar test site graphics were a suggestion by the user. An amazing idea that helps people rotate their prick spots as well as insulin injection sites. The metabolic control graphics, too, was implemented after feedback from an inspired user.
Today, Diabetes:M is available on both Android и iOS devices, with optimized design for phones, tablets, and Android / Apple smartwatches. Moreover, it has over 1 000 000 downloads, nearly 300 000 registered users around the globe, and over 100 000 000 user entries. Some of Diabetes:M’s achievements and recognitions are:
- Certificate for quality control in compliance with ISO 13485:2016
- CE certification (EU Directive 93/42/ЕЕС)
- “Best app for healthy living and eating” category at the 2017 Webit Awards
- Excellence in Innovation 2018 award
- Bulgarian outsourcing excellence award
- Award by Healthline media for “Best diabetes mobile application” for 3 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020)
- Best app for “Diabetes Remote Monitoring” for 2021 by BestApps.com
Furthermore, a key development aspect was including medical professionals too. Nowadays, Diabetes:M is a platform for both users and clinicians – on the one hand, we have a mobile application where users can log and store data about their condition. On the other hand, we have the Diabetes:M Monitor system. The place where any kind of diabetes specialist (clinician, dietitian, nurse, educator, etc.) can remotely monitor their patients by having access to detailed information on their diabetes management.
The story does not end here. The future holds exciting updates on which the Diabetes:M team is working to bring to life. For example, adding Goals and Achievements features, to help users set and meet specific goals, as well as including a Detailed Diet plan to improve adherence to nutrition plans.
Overall, the story of how Diabetes:M evolved from an idea to a reality, is a story filled with inspiration, determination, and hope. Hope for a better future, hope for fulfilled goals, and hope for helping people around the world by believing in your dreams.