Latest News in Diabetes Technology – Highlights from DiabetesMine’s D-Data Exchange
By Eliza Skoler and Brian Levine
Two new models of virtual clinical care, plus new partnerships with Tidepool Loop
DiabetesMine hosted its flagship Summer 2019 D-Data Exchange at ADA in San Francisco, highlighting some of the latest in diabetes technology. There were so many terrific areas of learning there! A few highlights caught our attention for making diabetes management more convenient and accessible.
“Geek Squad” – a new virtual clinic to expand use of CGM
The “Geek Squad” is a “virtual clinic” aimed at making continuous glucose monitors (CGM) more accessible to people with diabetes. Since it is completely virtual, people don’t have to leave their homes to get help from the Geek Squad. The program helps participants select the right CGM, writes the prescription for CGM, ships the device to the participant, and then trains them on how to use the device and interpret their data.
A trial run of the Geek Squad recently took place in Wisconsin with 36 people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. During the three-month preliminary study, Geek Squad checked in with each person 14 times to review their CGM data, provide tips, and offer mental health support. Participants reported that they were able to use CGM to change eating habits and appreciated being able to check in with someone. For example, one person discovered that salad dressing was making her glucose level rise. Another participant saw that adding peanut butter to his morning toast made his blood glucose spike less.
Geek Squad is planning to start a bigger study with 200-300 participants in more than five states in late 2019 or early 2020. Stay tuned! To read the history of the Geek Squad, and more about the vision behind it, see DiabetesMine’s excellent piece from last April here.
Steady Health combines CGM with modern clinic for continuous T1D care
Steady Health — a new in-person clinic in San Francisco — strives to put CGM at the center of type 1 diabetes care. The clinic is driven by data from CGM and a phone app (Apple, Android) that collects data from the user around diet, exercise, and medication. In between in-person visits that occur every 6-12 months, Steady offers text message-based coaching. The clinic strives to use this data-driven, continuous care approach to increase members’ time-in-range.
A monthly membership with Steady Health Clinic ($59 per month) gives people with type 1 diabetes access to both the app and the entire Steady care team (currently led by two doctors and a certified diabetes educator). During the two visits that take place in the first month of Steady, participants are set up with CGM if they do not have it already and receive a personal care plan. After that, they can message coaches through the app to ask questions, request prescription refills, and complete lab work. Video visits are also available. Moving forward, members have at least one in-person visit each year, billed through insurance and with a copay similar to that paid for a typical visit to their diabetes care provider. The clinic is now taking consultation requests online and in-site. Paid out-of-pocket (without insurance), the price per visit is $300.
Steady Health Clinic leaders recognize, of course, that many people with diabetes without coverage may not be able to afford this. They are offering a limited number of diaTribe readers the opportunity to try the service free! Send a message to diaTribe if you are interested in trying this, and let us know why! Note that this will require one in-person visit to the San Francisco-based office – the rest will be done over video!
What did the data show? In a small sample of 11 people with type 1 diabetes who have used Steady Health for five months, five have seen time-in-range increase by more than five percent (more than one hour per day), while five have seen smaller increases, and one didn’t see any change. Two people even saw their time-in-range increase by more than three hours per day. We look forward to learning more about other outcomes, particularly how people feel their productivity may have changed or how they feel more supported.
Medtronic and Dexcom become official Tidepool Loop partners
Medtronic announced that its Bluetooth-enabled alternate-controller-enabled (ACE) pump and its Guardian Sensor 3 interoperable continuous glucose monitor (iCGM) will be compatible with the Tidepool Loop automated insulin delivery (AID) app. Medtronic’s Bluetooth-enabled ACE pump and Guardian Sensor 3 iCGM are both under development and not yet submitted to FDA. Dexcom has also partnered with Tidepool Loop to integrate its already-available G6 iCGM.
Tidepool Loop will be an automated insulin delivery app for iPhone and Apple Watch that connects to an insulin pump and CGM using Bluetooth. It automatically adjusts the user’s basal rate with the goal to reduce high and low blood glucose.
Medtronic and Dexcom join Tidepool Loop’s first partner, Insulet’s Omnipod, leaving just Tandem, Abbott, and Senseonics as US players not yet on board. Tidepool Loop’s Medtronic and Dexcom partnerships are a huge step in developing devices that can be used together.
Congrats to the DiabetesMine team for gathering so many interested leaders and people with diabetes to discuss technology progress and how outcomes can be improved through enabling technology.