I'm Challenging Medtronic

Why should we have to carry around so many devices to manage our diabetes?

Apple debuted some new products (the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch) that have a big focus on health. I’m wondering how companies involved in diabetes management can use this new technology to make our lives better.

Your idea isn’t new. Many years ago there was a tape that adhered to the skin to detect glucose levels but it never works well. Even CGMs aren’t 100% accurate and they’re in your skin.

Apple and other vendors have been working on technology that can sense glucose but as far as I know none of them have been successful yet.

Maybe 3 or 4 years ago Apple did have a glucose meter that could be plugged into the iPhone, kind of like a Square that runs credit cards. I saw an online demo but didn’t try one myself. Anyone use one?

Thing is not everyone has an iPhone. I don’t. That would make things a little difficult.

I don’t understand your point, butterfly90. Just because everyone isn’t using a particular piece of technology doesn’t mean advances can’t be made with that technology. Do you think CGM technology advances shouldn’t be made just because many people with diabetes don’t utilize CGM? Maybe the better strategy would be for you (and others not using Apple products) to pressure your smartphone manufacturer to make advances in the way your devices can help people with diabetes, and pressure your device manufacturers to share their data.

@jennagrant Yes, you are right the IBGSTAR Blood Glucose Monitoring System. I know a bunch of people in the DOC who use it. I like the fact it hooks up to the iphone through an app but, it wasn’t for me. I like having my contour/medtronic pump wireless connected better.

My issue with CGM’s is I’ve tried two kinds, the Medtronic and the Dexcom 7. Neither one worked for me, despite many training sessions with a rep and their help line. Medtronic even taught me how to calculate my ISIR’s, but the darn things just wouldn’t calibrate well enough to give me decent results. I was so off all the time, to the point where the data just wasn’t helpful at all. I guess I wasn’t the only one. But that was 3-4 years ago, and from what I understand the technology has improved to allow more users to get quality data and trending. Any thoughts from the group on that? Even though my insurance would cover most of it, I’m still afraid of spending hundreds of dollars again only to be disappointed.

There are some cool innovations coming along developed by tech companies including this one I read about last year (just found a link to an article about it: http://goo.gl/0Khw32) where a contact lens developed by Google can sense glucose levels. That would cool if it comes to market. For me it would be better than another insertion set…but then maybe a contact lenses would be more of hassle for some people. Unfortunately I can’t even do the CGM yet because my insurance company, Regence of WA, won’t cover it unless I have several BGs in the 40s and issues with lows at night. Mind boggling really.

please don’t be mad at me but in my line of business I do a lot of work with instruments - and everything about blood glucose meters and next gen CGM completely irritates me.

BG meters accuracy at +/- 20% I could do 20 minutes of standup about how ridiculous that is. advances to real accuracy in our most basic instrument is painfully (pun intended) slow. and my pump can deliver boluses to 0.05 units accuracy! hooray! useless when our meters stink so bad.

CGM is hardly stepping stone technology. root cause: interstitial fluid. it will be the same death the google eyeball reader has, interstitial fluid. slow and lagging, inaccurate, affected by other factors, yuk. Ive used the minimed CGM and it’s okay for things like testing basal rates, but holy cow my instruments at work need calibration every 5 years not 2x per day. At least the contact lens doesn’t have a huge needle, but hardly worth getting excited over because you’ll need your +/- 20% accurate BG meter to calibrate it.

@timg, this may sound immoral, but just lie. tell your doctor to write down you can’t feel your lows anymore and then threaten to sue your insurance company if they still deny - works ever time.

I don’t know too much about the new software that predicts insulin and BG, so my only comment would be that if it’s based on the numbers from our inaccurate CGM or our inaccurate meters, then what would be the confidence of a predictor that uses bad input.

the throw down is simple: I demand an actual blood based, real time, continuous monitor that has an accuracy of less than 1% between 40 and 240 mg/dl and does not need calibration, or if it does, I’d allow 1x per year. done sign me up.

I get where you are coming from @joe. I didn’t realize BG meters were that inaccurate. Mine seems to work ok for me (Contour Next Link). I did know the drawbacks with the CGMs and the problems with measuring interstitial fluid. That plus my lack of interest in having another thing attached to my body has kept me from battling my insurance company. I, like you, think I could win that battle if I was determined.

I’m not as critical of the current tools and technologies available to us as some because I watched my dad struggle with diabetes with crappy tools and less than knowledgeable doctors. I feel fortunate to have what he didn’t. He died in 1988. He first measured his glucose with pee strips then eventually with a meter the size of a dictionary that was tough to use and not very accurate. He also seemed to go through many different insulins over time (I was a curious kid poking around in all his diabetic stuff long before I was diagnosed myself). He didn’t have pump until the very end of his life and that was one of the first ones and it was a far cry from what I have now.

So, I think we absolutely should press hard for better tools. The technological capabilities are there (cars are friggin’ driving themselves now) Seems there is lots of focus these days on a cure. Awesome! At the same time we’ll all likely be dealing with this disease for a good while longer so let’s keep the technology cranking along and improving.