Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Exciting State of Diabetes Technology in 2014

My post of yesterday dealt with the #DBlogWeek theme of What Brings Me Down. Today, let's take a look at what brings me back up and running again.

One of my early posts got a comment linking to Scott Hanselman's blog post The Sad State Of Diabetes Technology In 2012. Both that post and the discussion in the comments thread express the frustration all people with diabetes sometimes share. We'd just like a break from constantly monitoring ourselves, guesstimating carbohydrates, injecting insulin, etc. And we know many of the problems we're experiencing can be solved with technology. And we're frustrated when we don't have that technology, only a promise of it.

I personally, at least on a good day, find it much better to appreciate every small step that is taking us in the better direction. I know we're not there yet, and it will take us decades to get to where diabetes no longer produces a slightest burden, but all the progress I'm seeing genuinely aims at making life with diabetes easier and improving the treatment results.

In my previous posts, I've presented some of the Finnish diabetes startup companies. Today, let's take a global view.


One of the main issues presented in Scott's post was interoperability between devices, and open, standardized interfaces. While a lot of work is still needed on this front, a lot of progress has already been made. Companies like Diasend integrate with nearly all glucose meters out there, and are able to get the data out of them to their service, so that people with diabetes can remotely communicate their measurements with healthcare professionals, and the healthcare professionals only need to learn one user interface to inspect those results. Mendor have done a lot of the same work integrating glucometers to their Balance software. And Sinovo similarly for their SiDiary, also enabling people to feed their results to Microsoft's HealthVault platform, a Personal Health Record system where those measurements can be linked to all other relevant data, like nutrition and exercise, obtained from other apps and devices.

The above solutions mainly rely on people with diabetes using the readers shipped with their glucose meters, to upload the results. That process involves fetching the device, connecting it to a computer, starting the upload program and using it. While not a huge task, still something that people won't make a part of their daily routine.

There are a few attempts to make this process simpler. Biomedtrics, Diabeto, and Glooko all provide solutions not involving the computer in the process. Modz have a SIM card in their meter, sending each measurement to the cloud fully automagically. This week, I'm getting a Fora meter that communicates measurement results to my smartphone, and the phone then transmits the results to a cloud service, again with no manual interaction required from me. I really like the way things are evolving.

Towards the Bionic Pancreas

I'm also thrilled to read the experiences people are reporting from the Bionic Pancreas experiments. People with type 1 diabetes finally getting that break, not having to worry about glucose levels, carbs, and injections, just living their lives.

There's so much going on on this front, including the whole We Are Not Waiting movement, starting again from getting the measurement data out of continuous glucose monitoring devices in real time (see Hacking Type 1), but already involving development of advanced algorithms and Do It Yourself Pancreas Systems.
Just today, Femma announced they're about to start testing their own algorithms for an artificial pancreas system.

Photo from

A lot of all this is of course just pipe dreams. I realize this, and I'm still encouraged by each new attempt. They all tell me I'm not alone, people share the same frustrations and are active in trying to solve them the best they can.

I'm also excited of each small concrete step forward, like finally getting a meter that transmits it's results to a cloud service automatically.

Small steps, but important ones!

This is my post for the Diabetes Blog Week, under topic Mantras and More, what gets us through a tough day.

1 comment:

  1. What a great summary of opportunities, development and positive thinking! Thank You Mikael!