Earlier this year Medtronic announced its ongoing efforts to help reduce inequities in the utilization of diabetes technology1. As the global leader in medical technology, we have the responsibility to help reduce health inequities within communities of color by ensuring they are granted the same access to technologies that may help them better manage their disease. Consequently, we have recently created a Health Equity team that’s focused on driving change forward within diabetes care.
Maribel Baker’s role as the Director of Health Equity and Community Programs is leading internal and external efforts to help bridge the gap in the rate of adoption of diabetes technology. During a conversation with Maribel, she explained how many people assume these inequities are simply related to socioeconomic factors. However, this is not true. In recent years research studies have shown inequities are still found after adjusting for socioeconomic factors.3 With that in mind, her team’s strategy incorporates an inclusive product development process that includes a more diverse representation in the feedback mechanisms earlier in the development stages and in clinical studies. They are also ensuring that all product education and marketing materials are representative of the communities Medtronic serves.
Nationwide, Medtronic is also advocating to increase access to and reimbursement for diabetes technologies for those in need as well as educating healthcare professionals on the inequities that exist and the care pathway interventions that can drive equity within institutions.
Throughout the next 3 years, Medtronic will work in partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and T1D Exchange on separate projects. ADA’s Technology Access Project (TAP) will receive $1 million sponsorship from Medtronic to help provide access to and availability of diabetes technology regardless of gender, race, income, or location to people living with diabetes. TAP is a part of ADA's Health Equity Bill of Rights #9, which envisions a future for all people with diabetes to have equal rights to prioritize their health, and equal access to diabetes management resources and treatments. The T1D Exchange partnership will help support an upcoming quality improvement pilot study to determine the rates of diabetes technology use among people of color (African Americans, Hispanic and Asian). Results will be used to develop and implement the ‘T1D Equity Framework’ with the goal of increasing education, fostering a shared decision approach, and improving adoption of diabetes technologies for people of color.
Additionally, Medtronic is supporting a NIH-funded clinical research that aims to improve glycemic management in African American youth with type 1 diabetes by providing hybrid closed-loop insulin pump technology and training for the project. We’re also working to be more inclusive with both market research and clinical research to have our participant pools be more representative of the diabetes population regarding race and ethnicity.4
While we look forward to sharing updates on these important projects, we also invite you to visit our new webpage to learn about of our commitments to health equity.
Want to learn more?
Press Release, Medtronic April 7, 2021. https://news.medtronic.com/2021-04-07-Medtronic-Announces-Ongoing-Initiatives-to-Address-Health-Equity-for-People-of-Color-Living-with-Diabetes
Agarwal S, Schechter C, Gonzalez J, Long JA. Racial-Ethnic Disparities in Diabetes Technology use Among Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2021;23(4):306-313.
Case AD, Eagle DE, Yao J, Proeschold-Bell RJ. Disentangling Race and Socioeconomic Status in Health Disparities Research: an Examination of Black and White Clergy. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2018;5(5):1014-1022.
Akturk HK, Agarwal S, Hoffecker L, Shah VN. Inequity in Racial-Ethnic Representation in Randomized Controlled Trials of Diabetes Technologies in Type 1 Diabetes: Critical Need for New Standards [published online ahead of print, 2021 May 20]. Diabetes Care. 2021;44(6):e121-e123.