March 27, 2012

Do You Do It?


I have been to a few diabetes events where a point was made that few folks download there stuff* (* a word that hear means; meter, pumps, CMG, food log, workout schedule and a partridge in a pear tree.) Why is that?

Now that may come as surprise to folks who have read my bits on diabetes technology, DEWY and the data frontier that while I value data, we don't download. So forgive a little Sheldonesque nerdieness and let me suggest that there are reasons we don’t boldly go where no one has gone before.

In our case it is too much of a PITA - pain in the Apple. We use Macs. A program is not Mac compatible if it requires me to run windows on my Mac or even an old version of Mac OS. For that matter a program isn’t PC compatible if it can’t run on the current version of Windows either. All of which is totally irrelevant because the stuff may not be best downloaded into a Mac or Windows computer anyway. Possibly the target device device should be more, dare I say it, in touch with our lives - portable across all the devices we use. It should probably be in the cloud and accessible with any computer or phone with current browser.

I realize that may give a lot of cardiac physicians patients at FDA a heart attack. But the reality is dirt simple: people choose to carry mobile devices. These could be a great conduit to move information relevant to diabetes management into a data cloud. To boldly go where the PWD already are.

Syncing data is a manual process. Why is that? Why do we need to drag out a cable connect it to some legacy port on a computer and jump through hoops to move the data? At one point our the meters and pumps all used cables connecting to the serial port but the Windows XP box I had at the time only had one such port. Naturally the cables were different so to down load the meters and pumps meant swapping cables. Care to guess how often that seemed like a good idea?

Why do we need to manually sync at all? Why not just introduce the stuff* to our cell phone. Like paring a head set and then let the devices do all the work. Isn’t that what the devices are meant to do. Diabetes care is extra work. Why in the name of all things holy do we have to do extra processes to sync the stuff that is already extra work.

I think the prime directive for device manufacturers needs to be to not inter fear with the  lives that they touch. Look we all know Kirk broke the prime directive every other episode but at least there was some token angst before heading off into a romance with some alien babe.  Strive for no extra work.

The data we downloaded was less than complete. Why doesn’t the information a PWD enter into the bolus wizard come out with the download? Also the limited data downloaded it ends up in different programs. Wouldn’t it be great if the meter, cgm, pump info and maybe user information like ran three miles all showed up on the same report?

What the heck why isn’t that report smart? The rules of diabetes are not that complex. Can’t the devices apply some algorithms and point out trends.  Like, "Dude you are always high at 4:30, seriously look at these numbers." Or how about, "Listen man I love ya but I haven’t seen at lunch time blood check in ages how do you feel about a little reminder?"

Why don’t we download?

  • Not compatible with our computers or devices.
  • Our diabetes varies and at times we vary the meters we use.
  • It is a different manual process for each device and all are pain in the ass.
  • The data ends up in different reports
  • It hard to pull together to figure out how it impacts life.
  • Diabetes is already an intrusion and this is an intrusion we can choose to skip.

That maybe more than enough from me. What about your views on downloading, do you do it? Why or why not and how can it be mage better?

Previous data rants at YDMV:


  1. I've noted before that I probably have eight or ten devices that sync to a computer/the cloud/other devices, and it's those gizmos that I use to monitor my health (BG meters, blood pressure meter) for which that syncing is FAR AND AWAY the most clumsy.

  2. I agree 100% with you. Why is it you have to shop for your insulin pump that uses the meter you like or have to buy a certain phone because it has apps that work with your medical devices. Just standardize these things and lets all move forward. I use a windows phone (the greatest platform ever) but there are jack and squat for diabetes apps for them and jack just left town. Thanks,

  3. For me, it's not a matter of convenience. I use the OneTouch UltraLink meters and a Medtronic pump, which all sync to the Carelink system online. I was also using the MM CGM for a while and had the ability to upload that data uploaded onto CareLink, too. But I didn't. Mostly, because I need to be in the practice of actually writing my results down and having them available to look at all on a sheet of paper. It's a mental thing, but it keeps me accountable and reinforces that I'm testing. Rather than just easily uploading once a day - it's just too easy. Kind of like using cash versus carrying a debit card - I'm more likely to spend money I shouldn't, so I keep cash and when it's gone it's gone.

  4. what a thoughtful and entertaining post! and i loved all the nerdy references too.

    i have a friend who creates app for his business and last year he was working on one for nursing mothers to help them track their overnight feedings and trends, etc. after we spent the night with our daughter and he saw us checking her while she slept, he had the idea that a similar app might help parents of CWD. it sounds very similar to what you've mentioned here (in the 'hey dude' portion).

  5. Do I personally download? Nope.

    When I use(d) Medtronic, my endo grabs my pump when I come into the office and downloads my date to look for trends.

    When I told her I was switching to Animas, she told me she uses Diasend, which I guess means I download before I go in and she can view it in the office.

    I like Glooko for ease of use, but I need more bells and whistles and charts for it to actually be helpful in my care.