October 2020: Using Artificial Intelligence to Simplify Diabetes Data

October 2020: Using Artificial Intelligence to Simplify Diabetes Data

Idan Tsadok, DreaMed DiabetesSponsored post from DreaMed Diabetes

Idan Tsadok, Algorithm Developer at DreaMed Diabetes in Tel-Aviv, shares her insight into working at a start-up focused on diabetes, while also as a person living with diabetes.

How did you discover your professional interest in healthcare and diabetes, specifically?
Idan: I studied biomedical engineering. Initially, I didn’t draw the connection between biomedical engineering and diabetes. It was only during university that I realized how applicable it is to diabetes. From oral replacement to stem cell therapies and programming, almost every course I took used examples grounded in diabetes. This helped me discover my dream job – a role that would allow me to use my engineering skills to improve the lives of people with diabetes. So, when I saw this position available at DreaMed, I realized it was exactly what I want to do, and now I’m fortunate to have my dream job.

What does your role at DreaMed Diabetes entail?
Each time I visit my endocrinologist, we analyze the data from my pump and sensor and try to figure out what changes need to be made. This process is very time-consuming and difficult. It is challenging to draw conclusions based on this data because there are so many variables that affect blood sugar, and interpretations can be very subjective. DreaMed Diabetes Advisor Pro aims to make this process easier by analyzing the data for the endocrinologists and providing insulin dosage recommendations. This may allow endos to spend more time with their patients and also improve outcomes in the long-term.

As an algorithm engineer, I have been learning new programming skills and software to use for the insulin recommendation algorithm. For example, I was looking at an already developed algorithm and finding innovative ways to enhance the recommendations we give. Our algorithm team discusses the problems on a daily basis and we brainstorm ways in which we can improve them. It is the perfect combination of medicine and technology – which I find super interesting.

How does your experience living with diabetes help with your work?
I have a better physical understanding of diabetes because I live with it every day. For me, the numbers in the data aren’t just numbers - they have real-life implications. I can also provide more hands-on and practical solutions to some of the problems we see. For most scientists or algorithm developers who don’t have diabetes, they may not even think of some of the problems that I know about through personal experience. This helps me to bring a unique perspective to the team that I know will be appreciated.

What is your vision for the future of diabetes technology?
Idan: I really want to see advancements in the hardware of sensors and pumps so that they are more comfortable, convenient, and portable. In terms of software, I think increasing the accuracy of sensors would be very beneficial. I also want it to be easier to change my insulin dosing and have better recommendations to manage my diabetes. This relates directly to the work I’m doing at DreaMed, and I hope I can contribute to helping people with diabetes achieve outcomes that are more in line with their goals.

What advice would you give to others?
Idan: I have faced many challenges and have felt underconfident in the past. While applying to DreaMed, in the experience with Python* section, I did not want to lie so I entered 0 years. I immediately reached out to the team in hopes that this wouldn’t disqualify me from being considered. They were so kind and friendly, and the rest is history! So, I would just say that if you have a dream and a chance to make that dream come true, even if you have a thousand reasons not to try, you should still try!

Idan Tsadok is an Algorithm Developer at DreaMed Diabetes, a Tel-Aviv based company using artificial intelligence to simplify diabetes data and provide insulin treatment recommendations. Idan has been living with type 1 diabetes since she was 7-years old.

* Python is a programming language.