By: Kevin Faber
Diabetes is becoming a growing problem with millions of people struggling to keep their blood glucose levels managed. In addition to altering diet and lifestyle, many patients must also rely on medication.
Controlling lifestyle choice and administering medication as prescribed can become complex challenges, but new technologies are making it easier for doctors and patients to keep tighter control over blood glucose levels. Taking advantage of some of these new innovations may make it easier than ever to keep your diabetes in check.
Mobile Apps Use Cloud Technology for Better Monitoring
In the business sector, you may have heard buzz about combining mobile technology with cloud computing. While there are certainly benefits to be reaped in the business sector from combining these two technologies, healthcare tech companies are making use of the system, as well. New and up-and-coming mobile apps will use a sensor to record blood glucose levels, so users can view their readings right in the app. By uploading each reading to a cloud storage account, that information can be accessed by up to 20 different people. Anyone with access to the account, such as loved ones or caregivers, can view the individual’s readings from their own mobile devices.
Wearable Tech Competes with Mobile Apps
In some industries, employees with diabetes present a workplace health risk, particularly where there’s concern about the employee using machinery or operating motor vehicles. However, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems can help keep business insurance quotes from rising by ensuring diabetic employees are maintaining optimum glucose levels. Wearable tech is getting easier to accommodate and becoming more accurate with the FDA approving newer generations for use. Some monitors are up to 30% thinner, making them less cumbersome to wear, and may not require a daily fingerstick calibration. A touch screen receiver presents the data in an easy to read format and can upload directly to a cloud account or a mobile app.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes Just Became Easier
The artificial pancreas, which is being marketed as a closed-loop insulin delivery system, was named by the Cleveland Clinic as one of the top medical innovations of this year. The system uses a pump controlled by a CGM device to ensure insulin is delivered as needed. Although this does replace the open-loop system, patients will still have to keep an eye on glucose levels and adjust the insulin dosages accordingly. While the system doesn’t automate the entire process, it does make it easier for patients to keep track of their blood glucose levels and administer the insulin more accurately.
Smart Pens for Diabetics Who Rely on Insulin Injections
Another insulin delivery system that’s on the way comes in the form of smart pens that can last up to a year without a need for recharging. Although the system relies on Bluetooth technology and currently only interfaces with Apple IOS 10 or higher, an Android app is also in the works. When used in conjunction with the U-100 Lilly Humalog and Novo Nordisk Novolog rapid-acting insulin systems, it helps patients keep a record of how many units of insulin have been administered. Patients aged 10 and older can use the pen to administer from .5 to 30 units of insulin per dose. The pump-like feature of the smart pen delivers those injections in half unit increments to allow for more accurate injections.
A Disposable Patch Eliminates Needles
Many different tech innovations for the treatment of diabetes focuses on delivering insulin without needles. Competing in this category are patches that the user can wear for up to three days and which deliver time-delayed dosages as needed. The patch works in conjunction with a handheld device to ensure doses are controlled accurately and delivered on time. Making use of Bluetooth technology, data can also be routed to a smartphone or other mobile device. Additionally, companies offering this type of delivery system are promising to keep prices more affordable than other options.
Implants Are Coming
Another innovation in CGM is the implant, which is surgically implanted under the skin and can last up to 180 days. While in operation, the device takes glucose level measurements and delivers the readings to a wearable black box that fits over the implant site. The black box acts as a transmitter, sending the data to an app on the user’s smartphone. The transmitter can be removed and reattached, but, while removed, it will not be able to receive or send data. Even though the implant takes regular readings, the system does rely on fingerstick calibrations, taken twice daily.
While a cure for diabetes may still be years away, new tech innovations are helping people by giving them the power to monitor their blood glucose more accurately and deliver insulin more efficiently. By focusing on these two aspects of treating diabetes, new tech innovations are giving diabetics back some of the control that the disease has taken from them. As new inventions are approved for public use, diabetics will have even more choices in how they monitor and treat their condition.
By Kevin Faber
About the author
Kevin Faber is the CEO of Silver Summit Capital. He graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Business/Managerial Economics. In his free time, Kevin is usually watching basketball or kicking back and reading a good book.
Follow him on Twitter: @faber28kevin