Mobile Sharing

Most people with diabetes have medical gadgets in their life — some just a blood glucose meter; others an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor, or high-tech lancing device. But perhaps not surprisingly, people with diabetes are not all of the same mind when it comes to how they feel about adding more gadgets to their life.

A recent article at TMCnet.com describes the results of an Internet survey, published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, that asked parents of children with diabetes whether they would be interested in having their children use a cell phone that doubles as a blood glucose meter. The device, as described in the survey, would let the children instantly send blood glucose readings to a chosen health-care professional or to their parents. Overall, almost 30% of parents responded that they would definitely sign up for such a device, and an additional 27.7% said they probably would. Given that parents also expressed a desire for better communication with their child’s doctor — 77.8% wanted to be able to contact the doctor by e-mail — researchers concluded that this was most likely a large reason for the device’s appeal.

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A cell phone that doubles as a blood glucose meter is not just an imaginary concept. The GlucoPhone, manufactured by Genesis Health Technologies, has existed since 2006 and lets users send blood glucose readings as text messages to designated recipients. Having such a device, of course, means either using the GlucoPhone as a primary cell phone or paying for using it in addition to a regular cell phone.

Would you be interested in using a device like the GlucoPhone? How, if at all, do you see such a device improving your care, or your life more broadly? Do you think technologies like this could greatly improve the doctor–patient relationship, or are there other steps that are more important? Leave a comment below!

  • Andrew

    I don’t think that any of the major medical industry manufacturers are going to invest enough in the design of the cell phone part to compete with the iPhone or any of its knockoffs. I wouldn’t trade in my Blackberry for what I imagine is a crappy, basic cell phone with a glucose meter attached to it.

    What I would be interested in, though, is a device that allows me to use my Blackberry or iPhone as the interface to a glucose meter or CGM. Maybe something that snaps into the USB port, or a way to use Bluetooth pairing to review my pump’s info on my iPhone. I’d certainly rather use an iPhone interface to dial in a bolus than the OneTouch Ping’s 3-button pad.

  • Steve Baughn

    I totally agree with Andrew’s comments of Dec 14 at 8:13 pm. I have had Type 1 diabetes for 32 years and have been on Mini Med Paradigm for 8 days. The screens are hard to read i.e. small lettering and sun light blocks viewing. I think manufacturers should devote serious consideration to linking pumps, CGM, and BG hand helds to any devices including PCs and mobile phones.

  • Tom Hargis

    I would be interested a device such as this. I think it would help to keep control of your blood sugar. You have to be the quarterback of your health care team,as this would help keep your Dr. better informed. I always try to keep my blood sugar under control.