I am currently on vacation. You may recall that I travel to Ithaca, New York for a one week learning vacation at Cornell University to educate the right side of my brain with non-science information. This year I am attending a "film masters" course and viewed five films (as homework prior to the class) and now am learning why or why not I enjoyed them by analyzing the technical aspects of the film (editing, cinematography, screenplay, direction, and acting). I am thinking technology (science...again) and decided to write about diabetes applications and smart phones. I have always been fascinated by gadgets that apparently think for themselves (I know, not true) and have embraced this form of technology personally and professionally. One of my patients during the last year demonstrated an iphone application by which he recorded his diabetes related information and noted patterns. I loved the concept and so today, I thought I would discuss the many types of applications that are available for your mobile device.
Basically, it appears that there are three types of applications available: tracking, databases, and communication with the healthcare provider. They come with the ability to alarm, and allow for insertion of blood sugar results, carbohydrate counts, and insulin amounts. Some allow you to communicate these results to your healthcare provider. Do NOT forget that you also have the ability to download your glucose meters to your computers at home and then relay that information to your healthcare provider. My parents and kids are always asking for information about cables for downloading.
Cables for Downloading
Cables allow you to connect the data in your meter to a blood sugar software program in your computer.
- LifeScan Interface Cable (for use with LifeScan Blood Glucose Meters with data management capabilities) and the OneTouch Diabetes Management Software v2.3 are available at Drugstore.com for $29.99.
- The Bayer Ascensia Data Cable can be purchased online for $29.95 or for $49.95 with the Ascensia WinGlucoFacts Data Management Software.
For more info, visit: DiabetesNet.com
Upon review of several sites: American Diabetes Association, Children with Diabetes and The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as well as through a Google search, I found a website that documents nearly all available diabetes related programs for smart phones.
According to the website, there are at least 50 diabetes related applications in the iTunes store (I actually counted - as of 7.21.10: there are 171 apps, though not are all specifically related to diabetes per se and may relate to diet, exercise, and gender groups. Most of the iTunes software cost money, although some provide a free trial period up to two weeks.
Examples of iPhone applications include:
1. Wavesense diabetes manager which tracks glucose, insulin, carbohydrates consumed, and insulin dosages. Several of my patients have downloaded this software. They have not routinely brought the printed results to our office visits. To my present knowledge this software is free.
2. Glucose buddy Diabetes helper also allows the input of glucose levels, carbs, insulin, and exercise logs. There are alarms built in as well. Price is free.
3. Blood sugar diabetes control allows the person with diabetes to keep track using color codes. The user may also take snapshots of the graphs and send to ME. Price is $0.99
4. Diabetes app for iphone/ipod touch has been designed and supported by people with diabetes who apparently use the software. It can be used alone or in combination with the Diabetes Pilot desktop. Price: $11.00
5. UTS Diabetes for iphone for tracking and sharing and sharing data. Price: $9.99
6. IScan my food app for scanning foods and tracking ingredients on packaged food. Color coding is employed noting "good" and less acceptable foods and choices. Price: $9.99
An example of a Blackberry application:
1. NIH Diabetes consultant which is really a reference and medical technology guide.
The Android also offers On Track Diabetes and GExperts Inc.
For those of you who stay loyal to the Palm OS (like me-Palm Centro), there are multiple applications for both the new Palm products and the oldies (Palm Centro, Tungsten, Treo). They include (and come with a price tag) the following.
1. Diet day for Palm OS, which allows you to record all that you consume using food databases. There is a free trial available. Price: $29.95
2. Diabetes Log for Palm OS, which allows record keeping. Price: $14.95
3. Diabetes Pilot for Palm OS (for Centro, Treo, and Tungsten)- record keeping, Price: $29.95
4. Glucose One-Diabetes Management System: FREE for common use. One should store the palm with glucose meter.
5. Health Engage Diabetes- a comprehensive tool that organizes data for T1 and T2 diabetes. It is very expensive. Price: $59.99-69.99
6. LogBook DM which was developed by an insulin pumper. There is a free trial available. Price: $12.00
7. UTS Diabetes- tracks data. Free trial available. Price: $19.95
Windows MOBILE: provides a Diabetes Pilot for both a free trial and Price of $29.95
MAC and WINDOWS computers offer a variety of diabetes software that may be downloaded as well including:
1. Calorie King Nutrition and Exercise Manager. There is a free trial available and to download, the Price is $45.00 (we use the paper version for our classes)
2. Diabasics- free trial and download Price: $29.95
3. Animas EZ Manager - merges data from the Animas pumps and specific One Touch meters. Price: $49.00 (we use extensively)
4. Health Tracker: there is a 15 day free trial. Price: $19.99
5. GNU GlucoControl. It is free and is intended to store data primarily for type 1 diabetes.
And, finally: a word about apps! They are a very cool. However, there is one caveat that underlies their coolness: to use these apps, a person with diabetes has to do the following:
1. Take medication (insulin/ oral meds, etc.)
2. Check blood sugars
3. Follow a meal plan (count carbohydrates, for example)
4. Chart exercise
5. Communicate this information to the healthcare team.
Therein "lies the rub."