Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.

With FDA clearance in July 2016, a wireless insulin pen with a mobile application is the first “smart pen” set to hit the market later this year—an exciting development for people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

If my instinct is correct, Companion Medical’s InPen system will be making a big splash by year’s end. The maker claims the InPen system “combines many of the best features of insulin pens and insulin pumps into one easy-to-use and affordable system.”

Why consider the InPen?

If simplicity is your thing, you may think you’re happy with basic diabetes tools like syringes—but insulin pens and syringes aren’t without their shortcomings. Interactive diabetes tools like the InPen are what the future holds. They have important safety advantages and remove much of the guesswork involved with diabetes decision making.

Syncing our diabetes regimen with smart digital tools can help build confidence, launching us to the next level of diabetes management.

Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors have helped lots of folks with this already. But what about the rest of us?

Paper logs work well for some people, but it’s easy to start neglecting them over time. On the other hand, we’re hardly ever without our smartphones, which is why the InPen caught my eye. Hopefully, it will provide sophisticated diabetes support without the high cost of an insulin pump—a happy medium between syringes, pens, and pumps.

Features of the InPen system

  • A dose calculator that offers recommendations to follow, similar to those found on insulin pumps
  • A logbook that tracks your insulin dosing history
  • A temperature monitor for the insulin in your pen
  • A screen display that reminds you when you last took insulin, and also shows insulin on board (active insulin)
  • Tracking and sharing with your healthcare providers

What could a smart device help with?

Almost everyone who relies on insulin syringes and conventional pens will admit that they’ve accidentally:

  • Taken an insulin dose twice—because the only place where the task is recorded is in a memory bank.
  • Used the wrong kind of insulin (erroneously injecting 20 units of fast-acting insulin instead of 20 units of long-acting, for example).
  • Lost track of what insulin dose changes worked best for exercise, work, travel, or meals eaten out.

Improving diabetes management

Using the InPen system’s features could help you be better organized and better able to monitor your progress between diabetes doctor appointments. Your data can be used to make immediate changes.

The InPen will be offered only with Eli Lilly’s Humalog or Novo Nordisk’s Novolog rapid-acting insulins. Price has not been announced. Keep your eyes peeled for product reviews as the InPen system rolls out in late 2016!

Would a smart pen help you manage diabetes? What features would be most important to you? Add a comment below.