Frustrated patients and their families are starting to meddle with medical devices to make them more useful, according to recent media reports.
It centers around Jason Adams,a business-development executive by day and a molecular biologist by training, had never considered himself a hacker. That changed when he discovered an off-label way to monitor his 8-year-old daughter’s blood-sugar levels from afar. His daughter Ella has Type 1 diabetes and wears a glucose monitor made by Dexcom Inc. The device measures her blood sugar every five minutes and displays it on a nearby receiver the size of a pager, a huge advantage in helping monitor her blood sugar for spikes and potentially.
She wears DexCom’s continuous glucose monitor, but the device doesn’t transmit blood sugar data to the internet – so Adams found a way to do it anyway.
Adams discovered NightScout, “a system cobbled together by a constellation of software engineers, many with diabetic children, who were frustrated by the limitations of current technology,” the subscription-only story says. The open-source system hacks into the DexCom device, uploads its data online and allows caregivers to check their beloved diabetics’ blood sugar levels remotely. In Adams’ case, he checks Ella’s glucose on his Pebble smartwatch.
“It isn’t perfect,” admits Adams. “It drains cellphone batteries, can cut out at times and hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But for many, it has filled a gap.”
But it’s a long road for these kinds of device upgrades to get actual regulatory approval – which is why the FDA is allowing these unapproved uses slide by, since users are finding it so beneficial. DexCom’s working on developing a device that has this kind of functionality built in, but it could take quite a while to receive approval.
“The FDA acknowledges the frustration and doesn’t want to be seen as standing in the way of innovation,” states an FDA spokeswoman. “The FDA notes there are different requirements in Europe for device approvals and that approvals depend on when manufacturers submit their applications to U.S. regulators.”
At Diabetes Insight We Don’t Just Tell You How, We Show You How!
Diabetes Insight is Ireland’s only private independent advisory service and education centre dedicated and specializing solely in Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME). Its aim is to make a difference in the lives of those living daily with diabetes by providing quality education, advice, support and resources in a clear, simple, practical easy to understand manner without fear of judgement or blame. We respect and see each person with diabetes as an individual, with individual needs, so all our services are tailored to your specific needs.
All our services are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes who has over 15 years experience working and studying in diabetes management. These services are unique, from cookery courses to one day courses and are not to be found in any other health service or provider within the Republic of Ireland.
Contact us today to see how we can help you and make a difference to you living with diabetes by ringing Helena on (086) 1739287 &/or email firstname.lastname@example.org. With services starting from as little as 20 euros, there is something to cater for every budget and need.