Thrivable CEO David Edelman launched Diabetes Daily to connect the vast and diverse community of people living with diabetes. More than 16 years later, David reflects with The Wacky World of Diabetes podcast host David Kliff on what’s changed the most and how his Diabetes Daily journey led to the creation of the health care industry’s first rapid-research platform for patient insights. 

Enjoy the highlights below and listen to the full podcast here: Survivable to Thrivable with David Edelman

How Diabetes Daily came to be

“I met a woman named Elizabeth in my early 20s, just after she was diagnosed with diabetes. I had no idea what blood sugar was or why you needed to measure it. I remember going online to search for information about the disease. And there just wasn’t a lot of information out there.

So, we created a place where people could sign up and share what they knew and what they were learning. It became a wonderful opportunity for people to connect, share best practices, and support one another.”

The biggest changes since Diabetes Daily began

“First, you have the rise of social media and democratization of access to information. Initially, it was the insiders who visited online forums and created tight-knit communities. Now, everyone is on the web and, in particular, consuming information online. It’s been an incredible trend to not just watch but be part of.

Second, in the diabetes space, it’s been fascinating to watch the rise of consumer technology. Diabetes began as a medical condition you treated through traditional pharmacological approaches and some clunky devices. Over time, you have designers coming from the likes of Google, Apple, and Fitbit to design technology for the diabetes space that’s driven by customer experience, not just medical experience.”

The path from Diabetes Daily to Thrivable

“As Diabetes Daily grew, we were in search of a business model because you can’t spend 60 hours a week on a passion project. You still have to pay the bills, and we had a growing team. Early on we established partnerships with medtechs, pharma brands, and food companies that wanted to advertise. In working with them, we discovered rather quickly that there was this hunger to know what patients thought of their products and services. Especially the medtechs because they want to build products that patients want to use. But it’s really hard to get in touch with patients. So we created Thrivable, a real-time market research platform for the health care industry.”

How health care companies use Thrivable to gain critical insights

“When we were first building out our platform, we actually worked with a number of startups that had a great idea and wanted to go out and validate that idea with customers to make the case that what they wanted to build was right.

Today, we’re working with most of the leading diabetes medtech companies, and they use us for a broad range of things. Sometimes it’s an examination of the marketplace while other times they want to understand which features they need to have in their products to go to market. They want to know how patients will react not just to the product but to the messaging and advertising.” 

A competitive advantage for patient-centric companies

“It’s really interesting because, for a lot of the companies we work with and speak to, the need to be more responsive to the market is coming from high up. Leaders know that the companies that are the most patient-centric in terms of their product, their marketing, and their branding — as well as how they engage with patients — are the ones that are winning. 

These are the companies that are seeing extraordinary growth and success in the marketplace because it’s a competitive advantage to be able to be closer to your customers. In any other industry, this would sound obvious. But this hasn’t been the legacy in health care due to tight regulations and how difficult it is to reach patients.” 

And the future of patient insights

“If I think about why Thrivable exists, it comes down to the idea of co-creation. The co-creation of knowledge and the co-creation of progress. It’s really about the idea of community moving towards a purpose. Diabetes Daily was always about bringing patients together to figure out how to do things better. The Thrivable community extends that concept further to connecting patients and companies so that they can create a better future together.” 

About the author

Kendra Van Nostran

Kendra Van Nostran

Marketing Lead

Kendra brings more than two decades of marketing communications experience spanning strategy development, content marketing, and public relations to her role at Thrivable. She earned a Master of Arts in Media Ecology from New York University.