Diabetes Mind Palace


“Stuff” is one of the evergreen topics of diabetes. What we use, the features we would like from pharma, and why we don’t have the amazing toys yet—we never seem to get tired of discussing it. Today in Diabetes Blog Week is the day that we talk tech, in particular our “fantasy diabetes devices.”

I think you can divide fantasy devices into (at least) two broad categories: (1) things like what we have now, and (2) things that act like an endocrine system. I’d love the latter, with its promise of a system or implant that behaves like a pancreas and gives us back normal glycemic response without any work. It’s going to take a while before we have replacement beta cells that don’t die . . . or CGM sensors that are accurate enough to make life and death decisions without our input . . . or control system algorithms that can handle all of the crazy variables that go into blood glucose.

So I think we’re on our own for a while longer, and we will need devices that help us make better decisions. I’ve said it before: we generate so much data that never gets used, and I’m sure that device manufacturers could build more decision-support, trend-spotting, and CDE-like functionality into our devices. And these devices should all talk to each other using standard, open protocols (like ANT+) so that they can integrate with all kinds of other devices—like my Garmin bike computer or running watch—and third-party software, which I would totally write if it were easier to get at the data.

Ideally, these decision-support systems would remember what’s happened over a long, ever-growing history, know what’s happened earlier in the day, and give suggestions about what to do next. The less work that I have to do the better.

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3 Responses to Diabetes Mind Palace

  1. Pearlsa says:

    Cool we have similar dreams

  2. diabetesrph says:

    Big Pharma has too much invested in what sells rather than what is user friendly or what works. Fire your software and hardware engineers and turn the problem over to Apple , Google or Amazon and you will have a solution in 6 months. It continually frustrates md how big and unfriendly and as you said how unuseful these machines are. You need focus groups that redefine the problem.

  3. Jeff Mather says:

    I’ll say this for pharma: They work in a very constrained regulatory ecosystem. Some of the rules make sense; some not so much. The engineers working for them aren’t the problem. I know they have lots of good ideas that languish while waiting for US, Canadian, or EU approval. Of course, I think that causes these companies to be very conservative when it comes to usability and features.

    Hopefully, the proliferation of user-reconfigurable “smart” devices (like the iPhone and Android phones) will encourage the FDA to reconsider some of its rules about treating software the same as a medical “device” requiring 410(k) approval. If not, we’ll just have to do it ourselves without their blessing.

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