I wish my Pebble Smartwatch Integrated With my Dexcom

the pebble smartwatchI’m a new Pebble Smartwatch user.

If you’re not familiar, the Pebble is a wristwatch that you wear that wirelessly communicates with your iPhone or Android phone and all of your phone’s alerts will pop-up on the watch.  The project started from a Kickstarter campaign and is slowly seeping it’s way into the techier corners of our world.

I know that Diabetes Wonderwoman Cherise has one too.

There are a dozen reasons I love this thing.  And I don’t want to bore you with all of them here (the short list includes being able to see my text messages without taking out my iPhone in sketchy neighborhoods or on the train; I can control the music that’s playing on my iPhone while it’s in my pocket; and I can pay attention to everything that is in front of me without getting distracted by incoming messages that aren’t worth my time).  There is one diabetes-related thing that I wish the Pebble would do, but it’s more of an iPhone/Dexcom integration issue.

Dexcom patent smartphone integrationDexcom, the maker of continuous glucose monitors, announced last week that they had filed a patent for a system that would integrate my smartphone and my Dexcom device.  This is good news for people that don’t love carrying around their CGM receivers.  My friend Donna can’t seem to take a taxi cab without leaving her receiver in it, so this technology will benefit these types of people immensely.

One of the images that was used in the patent application (to the left) also includes notifications that seem a bit smarter than the normal CGM.  Things like “you’re starting to go high” or “it looks like you are going to go low in 10 minutes.”

This is an exciting idea.  I do know, however, that the FDA “roadblocks to new technology” or “regulations to keep the public safe” depending on which camp you’re in, are big and really difficult to clear.  I wouldn’t guess that this technology is super close to market.  But it’s an exciting prospect nonetheless.

The additional benefit, in my opinion, is that as my phone is becoming an invisible technology that sits in my pocket and is checked up on using a secondary screen (in my case my Pebble Smartwatch), I will be able to also see the alerts coming from an integrated continuous glucose system.

Pebble smartwatch integrated with dexcom continuous glucose monitor

This is just a mock-up version of a Dexcom alert that could possible be part of an integrated system. Someday.

Right now I’m loving how the Pebble is allowing me to avoid looking at my iPhone.  When I’m biking, I can see what text messages come in.  When I’m sitting in meetings I hate being rude and pulling out my phone and the Pebble allows me to avoid that.  And I’m even seeing an improvement in my normal workflow…sitting at my desk I can (without ever taking my fingers off of my keyboard) see what emails come in and decide if it’s worth clicking over to my inbox to deal with them at the moment.

The benefits this new technology has brought me will be only magnified when (if?) Dexcom clears the FDA and can start bringing me my CGM alerts directly to my phone.

As people with diabetes, we frequently dream about technology that would make our lives better.  For different reasons (regulations, cost, disinterest from industry) we conclude that these dreams are just that…dreams.  With the Dexcom patent application, however, I feel like this one desire could be close.

Calloused Fingers Crossed!

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This is the one about ‘Strip Safely.’

blood drop painting by mike lawson with diabetesAs a person with diabetes we rely on technology to keep us alive.  Not just the tech that makes our medicine, but the tech that we rely on to decide how much insulin to dose.  At a recent public meeting the FDA acknowledged that there were some FDA cleared blood glucose meters and strips that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved.

Wuuuut?!

This blew my mind.  And it reminded me of a video that I made a few years ago (in my bathroom) where I test my glucose with different meters and get pretty dramatically different results:

And the fact that the reading on my left hand didn’t match my right says more about my meter and strips than my body’s asymetry.  We rely on the accuracy of test strips to say alive.  That’s why I’m joining the Strip Safely campaign and contacting the FDA and my representatives in Congress to tell them that:

  • The accuracy of test strips is a public health issue.
  • Quality assurance should be done on strips sold through normal distribution channels.
  • We need better accuracy standards than the ones created in 2003.

What are you waiting for?  The Strip Safely website has sample letters that you can use to contact your legislators too.

Strip Safely - accurate diabetes testing matters