Introducing Turning Point: A Powerful Program to Help Hospitals and People Living with Diabetes

Introducing Turning Point: A Powerful Program to Help Hospitals and People Living with Diabetes | The LOOP Blog

A few weeks ago, I introduced myself and mentioned my role here at Medtronic Diabetes. In my blog I mentioned that we’re constantly trying to find innovative ways to be there globally for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. One way is through introducing exciting new products to the community, like the MiniMed 670G system. But, it’s also important that we provide services and solutions that make living with diabetes easier and more manageable to those in under served populations. Often, this requires creative new thinking and partnership with other organizations. The Medtronic Turning Point program is a good example of this.

We know that we need to treat type 2 diabetes and it’s foremost in our minds to reduce any adverse events that may seriously affect and threaten a patients’ life. But it’s just as important that we take care of people and understand how to improve their lives. The Medtronic Turning Point program is unique in that it started with thorough ethnographic research where we visited, observed and talked to patients and their caregivers in their homes and clinics. This allowed us to understand their motivations (e.g., I am afraid, I want to feel better), their concerns (e.g., I don’t have money to buy food), their behaviors (e.g., I only take my medicine when I don’t feel good), their feelings (e.g., I am so stressed, it’s all too much) and their dreams (e.g., I want to be there for my grandchildren). And above all, we understood the people in the context of their culture (e.g., I only speak a little English) and environment (e.g., I don’t trust some of the medical advice).

Once our initial research was complete we partnered with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Introducing Turning Point: A Powerful Program to Help Hospitals and People Living with Diabetes | The LOOP BlogTexas, Inc. to develop the Medtronic Turning Point program. The patients were identified by Methodist Healthcare Ministries based on the need for additional support. Medtronic Turning Point is a program based on relationships which complements technology touch points, by using a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter (BGM) and the assignment of a one-on-one health partner (coach) who monitors progress and offers exercise and nutrition counselling. The coaches develop a trust and bond with those living with diabetes who are in the program. Our coaching is based on small, progressive goals. We make it easy to accomplish certain tasks in the patients’ lives and in their therapy. We coach by giving choices and we finish conversations always on a positive note.

Medtronic Turning Point is unique in that it leverages the latest medical device technology with great personalized coaching based on the application of human behavioral principles guided by an understanding of people’s lives and culture. We treat the disease and we improve people’s lives.

Results from the 50-patient pilot were astounding. Patients over the first 3 months achieved an average A1c level reduction of two percent. This is a really big deal when you think about how every percentage point reduction can decrease the risk of long-term diabetes complications by 40% (site the DCCT). We saw these improvements across 83% of the population. Many people also lost weight and lowered their blood pressure and/or cholesterol thanks to the exercise counselling offered by Medtronic coaches.

With the Medtronic Turning Point concept proven, Medtronic has begun enhancing the program by integrating IBM Watson Health’s cognitive computing capabilities, which will allow both the healthcare provider and the patient to receive insights that can be acted upon. This program is an example of how we are thinking differently to help more people. We are very excited about this step forward in helping those living with type 2 diabetes to better manage their diabetes. In addition to reducing A1c, which is very important clinically, it’s exciting to see how a program like this can be successful in helping people learn how changes to nutrition and exercise can play a role in making them feel better so they can spend more time living life and enjoying time with their loved ones.

To learn more about Turning Point success stories, please visit:

Part 1 of 3: A chef takes a fresh approach to diabetes

Part 2 of 3: Interrupting the cycle of diabetes

Part 3 of 3: ‘Leveling up’ to combat diabetes

Medtronic is working with additional healthcare systems across the US to allow people living with type 2 diabetes access to this new program.

Important Safety Information

The Medtronic MiniMed 670G system is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin (at user selectable rates) and administration of insulin boluses (in user selectable amounts) for the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons, fourteen years of age and older, requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin. WARNING: Medtronic performed an evaluation of the MiniMed 670G system and determined that it may not be safe for use in children under the age of 7 because of the way that the system is designed and the daily insulin requirements. Therefore this device should not be used in anyone under the age of 7 years old. This device should also not be used in patients who require less than a total daily insulin dose of 8 units per day because the device requires a minimum of 8 units per day to operate safely.  Only use rapid acting U100 insulin with this system.  Pump therapy is not recommended for people whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional. The safety of the MiniMed 670G system has not been studied in pregnant women. For complete details, including product and important safety information concerning the system and its components, please consult and the appropriate user guide at

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