Diabetes technology is ever changing making it increasingly simpler for patients to manage their blood sugars. Two areas of huge innovation for people with diabetes are insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. 2017 was packed with major developments. We asked Certified Diabetes Educator Amanda Kirpitch, MA, RD, to survey the landscape of diabetes products and address what was new in 2017. Here is what she had to say:
Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G Insulin Pump is the only combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system on the market today. The technology allows the pump to communicate with the sensor and regulate basal insulin automatically. This pump is a partial hybrid closed loop system because patients still have to do some of the work required to manage their diabetes.
The pump has 2 functionalities. In manual mode, this pump works similarly to earlier Medtronic pumps, with basal and bolus programming set by the patient and a feature to suspend insulin delivery for low blood glucose. In auto-mode, the pump uses an algorithm to determine basal rates and correction factors, and the patient is still responsible for entering carb ratios and insulin action settings. This system is a first step to pumps and sensors working together towards a fully automated insulin delivery system.
Abbott's FreeStyle Libre is the first CGM on the market that doesn't require finger glucose testing to calibrate. Patients insert a sensor about the size of two stacked quarters into the skin on the back of the upper arm where it can stay for up to 10 days. A handheld device can scan the device to obtain glucose readings. An occasional meter glucose check could be necessary to confirm system accuracy and hypoglycemia. There are no alerts with this system.
Dexcom’s Clarity Reports 2.0 is a phone app that allows users to send and receive updates about their glucose patterns, trends and statistics anytime, anywhere.
InPen makes it possible to track short-acting insulin doses for a patient on multiple daily injections. InPen is a refillable pen that works with an app to track doses, keep tabs on how many units you received at your last injection when you took them and advise on delivery dose. Currently, the system is available for Novolog and Humalog insulin and the app is compatible with Apple IOS 10 devices.
The Tandem T-Slim X2 arrived on the market late 2016. This model allows for software upgrades to be available to patients as features are approved for the pump. The first available upgrade became available in August allowing the pump to communicate with the Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitoring system. Patients who were already on T-slim X2 and all new users were able to obtain the software upgrade at no cost. Future upgrades in 2018 will also be available at no cost to the patient.
If you are interested in learning more about how the new, available technology can improve your diabetes management, make an appointment with your diabetes educator. In addition, the Berrie Center offers classes on the Freestyle Libre, (Tuesdays 3:30 to 5 pm) the Dexcom sensor (Wednesdays 3:30 to 5 pm) and how to chose the right pump (Friday 2 to 3:30 pm).