The topic of data was heavily featured in an upcoming episode of my podcast, Just Talking. We discussed the importance of data liberation, literacy, and eventual analysis of that data from both the patient and provider perspective. Things like Glooko are great because it eases the barrier to entry to that type of data aggregation and access. The idea is that if we have the tools to make meaningful changes to our diabetes management more readily available, then we are that much more likely to try and make those changes.
Of course you have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle a month’s worth of blood glucose data, but I think simply knowing that your data is waiting for you is an important first step.
But there’s got to be a downside to all of this stuff, right? What happens when we dig too deep into all of these numbers? What happens when the possibility of getting lost in the data becomes a reality?
I use an iBGStar for my day-to-day blood glucose testing. When I remember, I sync the data on the meter to the iBGStar app on my iPod Touch. But I rarely look at any of the standard deviations and statistical fun the app provides because I’m something of a coward. I value the immediate number that my meter provides, and I appreciate that I can look back at things, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to obsess over every single data point right now. I don’t want to distinguish anomalies from trends. I’m not in the right frame of mind for that stuff right now, but I think it’s good that I can recognize that.
Between the iBGStar, the Dexcom (even though their software isn’t compatible with my Mac), and anything else that I try to keep track of, the potential for data-induced burnout is at an all-time high. Remember that podcast I mentioned at the top? The idea of an insulin pen that records boluses and wirelessly transmits that data to some kind of receiver was brought up. While the idea of having a better understanding of how I’m using those 300 units is appealing on the surface, there would officially be no escape from the mountains of data that surrounds my life with diabetes. Quite frankly, I don’t know how you pumpers do it.
In the interest of trying to foster some sort of discussion, I have a question for you. For those of you that take the time to perform any kind of data analysis on your diabetes management, do you consciously dedicate a three-day window to it? Do focus on one data source? Do you focus on a time of day or time of the week? Do you not even bother with any of this stuff?