March 18, 2009

iPhone, LifeScan and My Standard Rants

Wow nothing like mentioning iPhone in on your blog to generate some traffic. YDMV had unusually high traffic yesterday. Nice to know it is mention of a cool cell phone that the world wants to hear about and not the regular musings of a dad of T1 kids.

Very humbling. LOL

(But Hey iCan Learn! Look I have put iPhone in the title of this post!)

For those of you who are new to YDMV let me introduce my standard rants about T1 diabetes information. The data needs to be ours, as in the people managing diabetes. It needs to come in industry standard formats so that We the People can choose the data creation devices that promote our Life Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. We need choices in the tools to analyze our data from the devices we pick and all the tools and data should play nice together.

See Swimming in the Data Stream Looking for the UN and I would Like a Side Oder of Holy Grail

Yesterday’s iPhone and LifeScan news brought these points to mind but I didn’t articulate my them (my rants) well at all. The BG data moving into an iPhone is all well and cool but if it is a proprietary J&J deal it is part of the problem rather than being an expansion of diabetes care options.

Animas used to tout the fact that their ezMannager program could download all the major meter data. While the program was something less than wonderful the idea of open architecture was great. Look at an Animas pump now and it says OneTough right there on the front face where it doesn't say Animas any more. That and there isn’t the down load options there was. Sorry J&J but that is the wrong directions.

We the People Managing Type 1 need applications that play nice with others. To get it we should use the ever popular market forces and choose the suppliers that provide open systems. OK OK there aren’t any. But we can deal with the fact that the vendors will try to tie us to their products by speaking up.

Call your pump rep.
Call your meter company.
Write actual sail mail letters. (File> Print. LOL)
Ask for open data architectures.

Now this may mean your pump rep never calls you back, like our, but hey that tells you something doesn’t it?


  1. Hear, hear!

    Medical and software vendors have a long history of trying to use proprietary data formats to lock users in to their products. (Microsoft Office, anyone?)

    They fail to see that creating and adhering to open, industry-wide standards is better for everyone, including themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like if every electronics vendor used a differently-shaped plug on their power cords?

  2. I agree that device manufacturers need to collaborate on open standard for data exchange between devices. I don't what another proprietary connector and data format tied to a specific brand of device. Using standards spurs innovation.

  3. I have to agree that an open standard would be wonderful and more broadly useful, but as a Type I diabetic this information from Apple and LifeScan is AMAZING. Never before has there been a diabetes management device that is so lifestyle-centric and data management friendly. As someone who's life is strongly defined by being diabetic (b/c my life is so impacted by its management), this focus on lifestyle is profound.

    Unfortunately, these proprietary formats are what drive innovation in the current market, and as someone who has to manage his diabetes everyday, I welcome this huge advancement. Now if it would interface with my pump, that would be truly amazing...

  4. OMG have you been reading my mind? What we need to do is to establish enough (a critical mass) of diabetic nerds & hackers to start creating open source products. The products themselves may never be as good as, or as pretty as, what is offered by the commercial sources... but the mere availability of them will have the effect of pushing Minimed, Lifescan, etc. in the direction we want them to go.

  5. Hi !

    My name is Andy... I am lead developer of GGC project (, which is open-source solution for managing diabetes data. It's written in Java which means it can run on all OSes...
    So I invite all of you to join me, make support for as many devices as we can.
    We have sub projects that handle different types of devices: Meters (we have support for all Roche(AccuChek), Ascensia/Bayer, some of One Touch), Pumps (this one is still in works), CGMS (this one hasn't started yet)... So you see we need all help we can get...

    Take a look..

  6. There is an industry group out called continua connected health that does exactly what you all want. They are developing an open protocol so that medical devices and back end systems and pc's can talk to each other. All the big companies like IBM, Intel and Philips are member of the alliance. In order to sell a device with the continua logo they have to proof that they adhere to the rules and actually implemented all features so that this device can communicate with other continua devices. This is a step in the right direction and I agree that open standards are needed and I think companies that offer only closed systems will disappear over time. But these standards are being developed and there is already a compliant device on the market, unfortunately not a blood glucose meter. Look for Nonin on the web.

  7. Thanks KoHo

    Looks like Norin is a member and Continua Health Alliance is the standards group. Quick looks shows Bayer and Accu chek aka Roche are members. So far as I can tell only the Norin oxygen tool is a certified product.

    Great heads up I'll muck around and see what I can learn. Thanks again,