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American Diabetes Month 2015 - Day 5: Medical Technology

Day 5  Well, today I wanted to kind of continue the conversation about the technology that I use and about Medical Technology in general.

Here is the technology that I amusing on a daily basis:

  • Insulin Pump (Animas Vibe)
  • Glucose Meter (One Touch VerioIQ)
  • Glucose Sensors (DexCom G4 Sensors)

The decision on technology used in Medical fields tends to be way different than other technological choices.  The first factor is if the item is compatible with the rest of your care needs.  In the end, this is similar to if a mobile phone is compatible with your apps, and your work's e-mail and your phone carrier.  Anymore, this is not a difficult task for shopping for a mobile phone, but there are many, many users of mobile phones and only very few users of insulin pumps.  There's no talk about insulin pumps on websites like The Verge or Engadget, so you have to rely on the online-posted reviews by people like me, or just trust what the sales representatives say.  Additionally, insulin pumps are not cheap.  Unlike Cell Phones, insulin pumps have to go through FDA approval (they are a medical device that saves lives) and a lot more rigorous tests to ensure the safety of the patient who is using them.  

Spec comparisons are pretty hard to come by as well, you either get qualitative comparisons that are pulled directly from the marketing material like this, or you get charts with numerical comparisons, but they are out of date, like this.  It makes it extremely hard to make a good decision on the insulin pump that you choose.  I sometimes feel like I regret my decision, but I won't be posting about that this month as this month is about educating.  

Alright, so with an insulin pump, most manufacturers include a glucose meter with the pump, some pump manufacturers include it because it has a specific feature that is compatible with the pump (like the Medtronic link to auto-send glucose results to the pump), but most of the time is't because of a partnership.  My current glucose meter works pretty well, and it's interesting how much the technology has changed since I was first diagnosed 9 years ago.  Back when I was first diagnosed, you had to know the strip lot value in order to have a different calibration for the meter on a per-strip basis.  And much like cell phones, the expensive part of the cell phone (glucose meter in this case) isn't the phone itself, it's the plan to play for the phone; for glucose meters, it's the test strips, which are generally incompatible with other glucose meters and cost a LOT of money (even when covered by insurance).  In the end, when I had transitioned to my new pump, I was left with a lot of supplies from my old pump that are currently being saved in the event of a pump malfunction.  

I think I'll continue on with the Glucose Sensors tomorrow, so get ready for Day 6!


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