Who know more about what’s on the way in diabetes technology advancements better than the folks at Diabetes Forecast, a healthy living magazine from the American Diabetes Association? Tracey Neithercott, senior editor of Diabetes Forecast, and Carole Fleck, content director at Diabetes Forecast, offered inside peeks into what’s new and exciting in diabetes technology in this week’s community Twitter discussion. We were also joined by Jewels Doskicz, RN and T1D, as our moderator. Check out some of the diabetes tech trends written about by Kelly Rawlings, editorial director at Diabetes Forecast magazine in this article for Diabetic Connect.
Q. What not-here-yet diabetes products in development are you excited about and why?
A. Diabetes Forecast: We’re pumped for Medtronic’s hybrid closed-loop pump with auto basal insulin adjustments! Ultra-heat-stable insulin is really exciting, especially because it has potential use further in the future.
Jewels: Artificial pancreas technology and smart insulin are different but exciting diabetes therapies to keep our eyes on.
• Closed loop artificial pancreas because I would like to eat without having to do math for once in my life.
• I'd really like ultra rapid insulin. I'm so bad at pre-bolusing before meals because my schedule is so hectic.
• There is just so much to get excited about! Flowsmart technology, better insulin, and much more!
Q. How do you find out about new diabetes technology?
A. Diabetes Forecast: We talk to a lot of device manufacturers to learn what’s in the diabetes pipeline.
Jewels: I most often hear about new diabetes technology through social media.
• Twitter, Healthline, and general tech websites.
• I didn’t even know what a CGM was before I joined the diabetes online community!
• Read, research, and more reading.
• Following journals like Diabetes Forecast helps me stay ahead of what’s new.
Q. Some companies are offering test strip subscription programs (monthly price, unlimited strips). What are the pros and cons?
A. Diabetes Forecast: The question is do you test enough times a day to warrant spending that much on unlimited strips? Your preferred strip brand also plays a role. Some are as low as $0.23, while others are as high as $2 a strip. You can see the price per strip for your meter here.
Jewels: I use fewer test strips than ever before with continuous glucose monitoring. The benefits wouldn't be as great anymore.
• If the price is right, yes. I only use two strips a day.
• I don't test as much with Dexcom, but my dad tests at least six times a day so maybe it would work for him.
• Depends on the price, if it's covered by insurance, and which strips are covered. I have to test six to eight times a day so I'd look into it.
Q. What are some of your favorite features on your current devices? What will we see in new devices?
A. Diabetes Forecast: I think we’ll see more connectivity—devices “talking” to each other for better data sharing. Of course, the biggie for future devices is moving toward a closed-loop system.
Jewels: Favorite features are those that share data easily. I love seeing my CGM on my Pebble smartwatch.
• I love my Freestyle InsuLux because it actually allows me to input carbs and gives me an idea of units needed.
• I’d love to see wireless meters that sync data to smartphones.
• I want to see a pump that can upgrade automatically just like a phone! I also can't wait for 640G to go into the cloud!
• Due to scar tissue I can't use stomach. I hope devices are more alternate-site friendly while maintaining accuracy.
Q. What improvements would you like to see in insulin pump infusion sets?
A. Diabetes Forecast: I think what we need to see is sets with longer wear times. This is a huge consideration for an artificial pancreas since CGM sensors last longer than infusion sets. Ideally, those would be changed together—or would exist in a single device.
Jewels: There should be easier and slicker setups for pump tubing—especially for kids. They're all so clunky and prone to user error.
• I’d like to see costs come down to actually being affordable for those of us without insurance or government coverage.
• Reducing the carbon footprint of consumable packaging would be a great idea.
Q. Glucagon options are improving! What new delivery method would be best for you?
A. Diabetes Forecast: The glucagon patch is intriguing (in Phase 3 clinical trials from Zosano). The easier for people to administer, the better. A new version should be super easy and not scary for people with no medical experience to use. Another concern for older adults, those glucagon instructions are pretty small to read. The injection could be hard for people with dexterity issues (older adults whose loved ones have diabetes).
Jewels: Nasal glucagon seems like the way to go. When people are freaking out in an emergency, needles are hard to manage.
• I’m excited about inhaled glucagon. I hope it doesn't expire like the needle version does. I've never used any, but may.
• Anything that is easy and comfortable for the person who has to deliver it.
Q. Insulin pen “memory apps” are coming. What features would you add to future pen technology?
A. Diabetes Forecast: The ability to see a whole host of data. The InPen is doing something like that and it sounds pretty cool. Connecting with an app would be great—you could have more pump-like data functions without wearing a pump.
Jewels: If insulin pens could deliver down to 0.1 of a unit like pumps, it would be great for kids and would postpone the need for a pump a bit.
• I'd like to know if my pen is in a good temperature range.
• I’d like to see it log the injections, perhaps with a little USB to download.
• Keep track of active insulin and ensure that one does not confuse long- and short-acting insulin.
Join this week’s conversation by commenting below, and join our next chats every Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET. Just follow Diabetic Connect on Twitter and use #DCDE.