Diabetes technology is constantly advancing. If you were diagnosed years ago, you’ve witnessed some drastic changes, and if you’ve been recently diagnosed, it might seem like there’s a lot to get caught up with. This week we welcomed Dana Lewis and Scott Leibrand, founders of the #DIYPS (the Do-It-Yourself Pancreas System) and founders of the #OpenAPS movement (to make artificial pancreas technology widely available). We also welcomed back host Jewels Doskicz, RN and T1D, and you, members of the diabetes community that have the opportunity to join our discussions every Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET via #DCDE on Twitter. Our special guests, host, and participants discussed on-the-rise diabetes technology and the hope for a widely available artificial pancreas.
Q. What type of devices do you use to manage your diabetes? What devices do you not use and why?
A. Dana: Devices I don’t use? Integrated meters. I just want accuracy and a light and small size.
Scott: CGM, pump, glucometer–and I’m ready to dip into the DIYPS.
• I use a CGM and a blood glucose monitor. I’m type 2, and I’m curious about trying an insulin pump.
• I use a T-Slim, Freestyle Lite, and a Dexcom.
• No devices yet. I still just diet and exercise for type 2 diabetes.
• Our daughter uses a Medtronic pump and Dexcom CGM. We upload her data to Nightscout and follow with our phones and Pebble watches.
Q. What would convince you to change one of your diabetes devices?
A. Dana: I most frequently change diabetes devices when something breaks! My old meter works better than my new meter did.
Jewels: If a new device makes sense and eases the burden, I’m in.
• I’m completely open to change. I love new technology and new gadgets.
• I would change devices anytime we could if it would improve my daughter’s care. We are often at the mercy of insurance though.
• Cost effective, compatible with the equipment I already have, and yields better results.
Q. What kind of data do you get from your diabetes devices? What kind of data do you wish you could get?
A. Dana: I wish my pump showed the history of temp basals ANYWHERE on the device. It’s frustrating when key data isn’t stored on my device!
Jewels: I wish I had one screen that showed the entire picture in one place, because managing T1D for two people (my daughter and me) isn’t easy.
• My diabetes devices have great numbers and trends, but it would be nice if I could put in medications, food, etc. online instead of on the receiver.
• I wish my FitBit data and CGM could merge together. Then I could see what I ate and the bolus when I exercised, slept, etc.
• I wish I could search exercise and diabetes data from the past, so I could see what I did on a hike in years past that worked or didn’t.
Q. If you could design your own diabetes device, would you? What would you change about your existing devices?
A. Dana: Yes! I designed the DIYPS for louder alarms, remote alerts, and predictive alerts, and then other OpenAPS as a do-it-yourself closed-loop system.
Jewels: A closed-loop system that’s super low profile. I’d love to lose the tethered feeling I’ve had for so many years wearing diabetes products. Also, how about options for skin-colored tape on diabetes tech products? No one is paper white.
• Better integration between food intake, drug timing, and insulin. Maybe even a permanent device implanted for at least CGM.
• Everything waterproof with better battery life. More colors would be nice too!
• Pump and CGM integration and software updates via the cloud rather than needing a new device.
Q. Do you think you’d be interested in artificial pancreas technology when it becomes available? Why or why not?
A. Dana: Yes, because I’ve built my own, and I know that it works really well for me. That being said, using artificial pancreas technology still takes a lot of work. It’s not a cure, and you need to have appropriate expectations for what the system will or won’t do.
Jewels: Artificial pancreas technology? Yes, please!
• Absolutely interested. I want to be able to eat normal (and occasionally excessive) amounts of carbs without having to do math.
• I’ve heard great things so far. Understanding it isn’t an end-all-suffering solution. Just an evolution.
Q. If you could say one thing to medical device manufacturers (or the Food and Drug Administration) to help them produce better products, what would it be?
A. Dana: Innovation moves faster than regulations. Design products and processes to allow improvements to get to patients more quickly.
Jewels: Watch the do-it-yourself movement and stay in step with the innovators. We need diabetes tech advances now; they’re working.
• Products need patient-centered design. The FDA should allow patients to use beta technology through conditional approval or something similar.
• Please look at the iPhone’s ability to update iOS without buying a new device every time.
• Work together for clinical evidence and proof that CGMs save lives. They aren’t just an expensive toy.
Thank you to everyone that participated in this week’s community discussion. Join this conversation by commenting below, and join our chat next week via Twitter.