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JDRF Announces a Milestone to Improve CGM Communication

Twitter summary: New standard on CGM interoperability could have big impact on future CGM design + promise for #artificialpancreas development!

JDRF and the University Health Network in Toronto recently announced the publication of a standard for CGM interoperability (the ability for CGMs to communicate with each other and with other software). The standard acts as a clear guideline for how future CGM devices should be built to communicate with devices such as smartphones, personal computers, pumps, and other devices. The standards themselves are communicated across a 56-page document, much of which details the specific programming and coding that manufacturers need to use – this is anything but a light read! Overall, Bluetooth is a central recommendation of the standards, which should allow for much more flexible and lower hassle device communication.

A major goal of the effort was to help speed up artificial pancreas development, as connectivity between pumps, CGMs, and control algorithms has been a major challenge for researchers trying to move the field forward. Often, researchers must mix-and-match devices from multiple companies (e.g. a Tandem t:slim pump with a Dexcom CGM) together, and each company has their own communication protocols. The adoption of standards by all companies should, if all goes well, significantly reduce the hassles of trying to get multiple devices to talk to each other. Future standards are in the works for insulin pumps, and a revision of the existing blood glucose meter standards is in process.

While the publication of standards is a critical first step, the next big challenge is to persuade manufacturers to incorporate these standards into their devices (current CGMs don’t meet the standards). All CGM manufacturers (largely Dexcom and Medtronic) had a chance to provide feedback, and the JDRF and Helmsley Charitable Trust are funding initiatives to help companies with the transition to using them. The great Dr. Courtney Lias of the FDA (and a major supporter of diabetes technology designed to help patients live more simply) has also expressed that the FDA is open to officially recognizing these standards – it would be a huge step that would certainly encourage companies to use them! For more information on this topic, please see our conference pearls from an encouraging FDA workshop in November. –AJW/AB/KC

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