Today marks another episode in “What’s Google Reader Reading.” My ‘diabetes’ news feed always turns out lots of fun nuggets. As you would expect, the bulk of the stories revolve around Diabetes Alert Day. This just means that the non-Alert Day stuff stands out particularly well, like this one: Telcare Blood Glucose System Aims for Wireless Diabetes Management.
If I’m understanding this correctly (and with my last blood glucose reading at 55 as of the draft phase of this post, chances are I’m not), blood glucose tests are synced in a data cloud where patient and healthcare professional can access this data. Feedback is either automatically generated [lame] or a connected HCP is contacted for specific caregiver advice. Additionally an Android or iPhone app is available. I’ll block-quote the “features” for you:
1) Allowing Telcare BGM users to access all of their glucose data, as well as offering additional electronic logbook capabilities such as manual BG recording, nutrition recording, weight management, exercise regimens, medication amounts, and blood pressure statistics.
2) Providing a cross-platform social community where people with diabetes and healthcare professionals can interact, share stories, discuss the diabetes technology that they use, and learn from one another.
3) Allowing direct to consumer supplies sales (including the Telcare Blood Glucose Meter and Telcare Test Strips).
4) By offering the App to parents of Type 1 diabetes, parents gain the ability to act on the child’s hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic occurrences which could in turn reduce emergency room visits.
All of this is great…
Assuming you have a HCP that is THAT connected. How many of the doctors on the clinical trials were paid to be part of this? I’m sure money was a factor in their response rate. How many doctors will have the time to respond to each and every blood glucose test that’s sent their way? I’ve seen how difficult it is for some PWDs to meet with their endocrinologist at the agreed appointment time, there’s no way we can realistically expect feedback on a timely manner when scheduled appointments are sometimes not honored.
And how exactly will this device connect to the cloud? I don’t need to pull out Verizon and AT&T’s coverage maps, do I?
For the people using a continuous glucose monitor, we are already overwhelmed with data, are we really looking for another data stream?
And what kind of security is attached to this connection to the cloud? Granted, a simple blood glucose test isn’t exactly the most sensitive of medical information, but if that data is compromised what’s next? Could someone turn the meter into a GPS unit? It’s certainly scary, but it’s not unrealistic to think that a child predator or some other kind of equally creepy stalker type with a bit of tech savy is capable of using this technology to their advantage.
How will the community features described work? If it is limited to just users of this Telcare system, that is only a small segment of the DOC. If I only talked with people that used my FreeStyle Flash, I might be able to fill a school bus, or a classroom, but that number pales in comparison to every other connected PWD. I don’t want to be excluded from feedback just because I’m using a particular meter.
I’m all for innovation, but I don’t think this is where my imaginary innovation dollars need to be spent. Storing data, especially medical data in the cloud is something that needs to be considered but I’m not sure if this is a step in the right direction. I can see some benefits for parents of children with diabetes, but the flow of information still depends on the child testing. And I’m not sure if a shiny gadget is the proper or effective motivational tool for a child that hasn’t fully grasped the seriousness of diabetes, or worse – doesn’t care.
Keep the innovation coming, but I’m going to pass on this one.