What is the Quin Research Programme?
We want to make self-care decision-making as quick, easy, and reliable as possible for people who take insulin.
Too many long-lasting, variable, overlapping and poorly understood events affect your blood glucose everyday. It’s impossible to know about all of them, and managing them with insulin requires making 100s of self-care decisions a day.
The current lack of scientific understanding about what diabetes is and what causes it makes only general treatments like insulin possible. General medical formulas, like carb ratios and insulin sensitivity ratios, are extremely oversimplified relative to what actually happens in your body, no matter how much you try to personalise them.
People like you must regularly use trial and error to determine how much insulin to take, and when to take it? In light of all this uncertainty, we believe your best past self-care decisions – not medical formulas – are the most reliable basis for making new self-care decisions.
We are making a mobile app to give you self-care guidance based upon the principle that your past self-care decisions are the most reliable basis for making your future self-care decisions.
It takes data from your existing diabetes devices, wearables and phone, and uses it to formalise and classify events that affect your blood glucose. Right now it looks at the events that are at some level studied by scientists, such as insulin injections, eating, drinking, the time of day, and some types of activity. In the future, it will look at the many events that are as yet unstudied, such as many more types of exercise, menstruation, stress, travel, etc.
Some of these events are the result of actions you took and many others just happened to you, like the dawn phenomenon. Of course, each event could affect your blood glucose over several hours, and its impact could change over that time as well. Our app classifies each event, and crucially, analyses how the different events overlap. It then structures them into your discrete self-care decisions.
So in other words, we aim to capture the data attached to everything you already do to treat yourself, and as much data as we can about whatever else happens to you along the way. We then structure and use that data to develop algorithms that give you advice based on what you’ve done in the past.
Our research aims
There are a lot of unknowns about what diabetes is, what causes it, and how to treat it. Contrary to what you may read in the news, artificial intelligence is not a silver bullet that can create new knowledge to fill these gaps in understanding. Right now, no one can tell anyone exactly how much insulin to take and when to take it, and neither can an algorithm.
You are the expert and your personal knowledge is the best we have to go on. We need to learn from it and make it the basis of new algorithms that can answer your personal self-care questions for you, such as: how much insulin should I take for this sandwich today, and when should I take it? What should I do to prepare for my walk home from work tonight?, etc.
The aim of our research is to discover the best ways to:
- Structure your constantly growing self-care knowledge
- Match your current situation to past situations when you made a self-care decision
- Present your best past decisions back to you in the moment you need them
Our timelines and deliverables
As a result of our research, we expect to have an app that answers some of your common questions by late 2020. Some of them illustrated below.
Figuring out the “right” amount of insulin for the food and drink you consume is by far the biggest self-care challenge most of you face. Many of you count carbs, but several of you have also developed your own method to calculate how much insulin to take. Whatever you do, we’re focused on using it to help you do it quicker and reliably.
Managing exercise is a major challenge for most of you. There’s very little medical guidance available, and most of you don’t find it very useful. So far, we’ve been working on helping you make decisions to do simple activities like moderately fast walks and runs. Once we can do that well, we’ll start looking into other types of activity.
We will work together with you and all our research participants to make this happen step by step. Once we’ve nailed this first set of questions, we’ll start looking at decision-making for other types of events that are known to affect blood glucose, many of which remain unstudied.
Your self-care knowledge holds the key to unlocking new personalised solutions for insulin-treated diabetes.
For technical reasons, our research is currently limited to adults who:
- Own an iPhone
- MDI therapy (Multiple Daily Injections) using a pen
- Use a Dexcom CGM or a Freestyle Libre (integrated with Apple Health)
If that’s you, and you’re up for getting involved please get in touch.
What does the research involve
Each monthly release of the app will have a new set of features aligned to achieving our research goals. Your feedback on each release and your participation in periodic interviews during this time will help focus our work and keep us on track.
If you fit the above criteria and are accepted in our programme, here’s what we would expect from you:
- Download the app following our instructions
- Log your food and insulin regularly (at least a few times a week) for a period of 8 weeks minimum
- Participate in an app feedback interview
- Answer monthly questionnaires about app features
- Update the app every time a new version is released
If you want to help pioneer a diabetes breakthrough, apply now to join our programme.