June 13, 2008

More on Ping

Amy over at Diabetes Mine writes about interesting stuff that she noticed at ADA’s diabeties-a-losa.

One was “From Medtronic, a prototype of a “baby monitor” device that connects wirelessly with the
Guardian CGM system. The idea is that parents would purchase a unit they could plug into the wall and place on their bedside table to view and monitor junior’s BG levels all night. The long-distance wireless signal pickup is enabled by a small powerful transmitter that you plug into the wall in your child’s bedroom, or any room where they will spend time. These look like the little charger packs you plug into the wall to recharge your cell phone, without the wires connecting to the phone of course. Theoretically, you could have one in every room in the house so you could always keep tabs on your child’s CGM results. Could be a Godsend! But still in prototype stage. And although pretty isn’t a priority here, this concept was definitely not touched by the “consumer design” push yet. The unit they were displaying in the Medtronic booth was beige and brown and very “hospital-ish” in its look and feel.”

At CWD’s Friends For Life last summer Medtronic had a session where they were using some of us parents as a focus group for some kind of a think like the baby monitor Amy talked about.

There are rumors that I started a riot in the session when someone from MiniMed suggested, in response to a parent’s comment about using information to adjust basal rates, something along the lines of ‘well you know only the child’s doctor can make changes in therapy.’ If suggesting pitch forks, torches and other mob supplies counts, then the rumors may, have have some, small, basis in fact. Regular readers will be shocked.

I don't have have much nice to say about ugly brown boxes. I will leave the professional design matters to Amy. She is brilliant on that issue.
I did write about the focus group in one of my early entries here at YDMV. I likened it to the “machine that goes ping.”

In my mind, an admittedly strange place, the lack of patient focus is the design issue equal to the ugly brown box. Medtronic, Cosmo, Animas, Dexcom, Abbott, Omni and a Partridge in a Pear Tree will all come out with different proprietary versions of a machine that goes ping.Or more precisely a machine that listens to the machin that quietly goes

Apparenly a volume knob on the first machine wasn't enough. No a whole new machine was neeeded.

Sarcasm aside, my point here is our data is our data. Data needs to be the property of patients. These little brown boxes from different vendors need to play nice together. That is: they need to speak the same language. The point isn’t to differentiate commercial interest with proprietary products and lawsuits. Our data should be in an open source standard so whne we invest in tools, they work together.

The internet works because someone, possibly Al Gore, maybe not, made TCP/IP a standard. Standards will help new product gain acceptance from consumers and insurers. The point is better care. Oh and providing better care makes a market bigger. Rising tide? All boats? Laffer Curve?

The real point is so the kids in the sand box can play nice with others. D or non D.


  1. Bennet

    I amazes me just how little device companies think about their users. How hard would it be to add something that help fix this problem?

    I think they should look see what baby monitors have as inputs (if anything). At the very least they could provide a small audio output with a signal on the alarm. Then parents could at least jury rig something from some off the shelf components at Radio Shack.

    What's the word from The Princess Bride...Inconceivable.

  2. You should call me to find out how bad the situation really is regarding access to your own medical data. I work with this every day and the future by itself is not pretty. pennyan83____a___t___gmail.com

  3. One of the all time classic films.


    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.