New Technology to Improve the Quality of Life With Diabetes
I have learned to become a “life-long learner.” As such, I am always delighted to learn about new studies, information, and technology. Although I am constantly reading different journals and listening to experts, I often glean new information directly from my clinical practice. My patients are well read and hear about the latest “stuff.” So, today, I would like to discuss 4 of the latest technological devices that are currently on the market:
1. the “telcare” glucose meter system,
2. the latest pump updates (Omnipod and Tslim), and
3. the new G4 Dexcom continuous glucose sensor.
I have had direct communication from patients about these four technological products and the news is good!
What is the Telcare® glucose monitoring system?
The Telcare® system includes a wireless glucose monitor that automatically uploads blood sugar results online. There is insurance coverage for the meter and test strips according to my patient. No additional hardware is needed (but it can receive the iPhone app to autosync). If desired, healthcare providers can access results online as wireless connectivity is freely provided. One can look at the meter for helpful graphs and trends, and there is software to allow for printing of the results. According to my patient’s family, they obtained the meter to provide instructions while the child is at school. Check it out—it might be an option for your family.
Insulin Pump Updates:
The Omnipod®, produced by the Insulet Corporation, recently announced FDA approval of its new version of the Omnipod insulin delivery system. The system still is comprised of an insulin pump. However it has become 34 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter over the previous Omnipod! The Personal Diabetes Manager still communicates wirelessly with the pump, but now will calculate the insulin on board (a feature available in other commercially available insulin pumps). In addition, the communication between the devices now allows them to be at an improved distance up to 5 feet. The Omnipod still contains the same 200-unit reservoir as the previous version and can be worn up to 3 days. However, an additional safety feature is a “pink” indicator on the top of the pump to indicate that the “cannula has been deployed.”
The Tandem T:slim insulin pump® has finally received FDA approval for the “t-connect” diabetes care software that allows patients and their healthcare providers to digitally access data from the t:slim and blood glucose meters. Thus, patients can now use the software to identify trends of blood sugars and make appropriate adjustments to basal rates, insulin/carbohydrate ratios, and insulin sensitivity factors. According to authorities, the software will be available shortly (March, 2013).
The Dexcom G4 received rave reviews from several of our families. The new Dexcom G4 Platinum® Continuous Glucose monitor now features an extended 20-foot range, glucose trends in color and a small receiver that is available in black, blue, and pink! The new Dexcom is less than 0.5 inch thick and 2.4 ounces and has beome the lightest CGM available. There are now more custom tones available for high and low alerts. It continues to have a USB port to download information to healthcare providers. In addition, based on an anecdotal report, the accuracy of blood sugar trends has been improved. Keep in mind, the Dexcom G4 is still a continuous glucose sensor monitoring glucose in the interstitial fluid, which lags behind serum blood sugar by approximately 20 minutes. Therefore one is still required to check blood glucose levels with a meter accordingly.
We are nearing the finish line. After nearly 1 year in obedience training, we passed our Canine Good Citizen Test, participated in two Children’s National Medical Center functions: (Neonatal ICU reunion and Halloween parade), passed the Therapy Dogs, Inc., checklist, and received a Letter of Recommendation from a colleague (Darlene Atkins, PhD, head of Therapeutic Pups at Children’s National). These items were sent to Therapy Dogs, Inc., in Wyoming and hopefully we will be approved as a therapy team. Next step is to forward the approval to Children’s National, get signed up, and go see our kids at clinic!!!