To Upload or Not to Upload? That is the question!
Guest Contributor: Diane Bajalia
As a “livabetes” veteran of 26 years, you would think that I would be an expert at uploading all of my technological devices — my CGM, my pump, and my different meters, but I have found over the years that it is NOT an easy feat to accomplish. I feel that I am sufficiently qualified enough to be able to use a variety of devices. I can work my iPhone, my iPad, my laptop, and most of the time, my television remote control.
I have found that there is not enough cross communication between devices or if there is, I cannot seem to decipher the confusing code to do it. Luckily there are ingenious entrepreneurs working on this very challenge. In early August I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators annual conference, Jazz it up with Innovation and Engagement. It was filled with exciting news about telehealth and virtual self-management tools and most importantly ——
patient centered care.
How Can We Upload Easily? Tidepool has an answer!
A young entrepreneur, with Type 1 diabetes, Brandon Arbiter, spoke passionately about a cloud based service called the Tidepool Platform. He is an advocate for the patient. It is not about the corporations and it is not about the doctors but it is about the people that use the devices everyday. He wants to make it simple and seamless (regardless of your medical or computer hardware) for us to upload data, to read real-time blood glucose trends, and to actually use this specific and vital information to keep us healthy.
According to Arbiter, only 6% of device wearers download data monthly. I am currently part of the remaining 94% of the users. Why? Because it’s burdensome and cumbersome to find the right cable, stumble through the difficult process with the error messages and finally upload and interpret the huge amount of data. Tidepool is a non-profit group with efforts in place to combat the burden of managing diabetes with technology - with their BLIP program!
BLIP will be a central hub for blood glucose information and then some! Think of it as a large shopping mall in the sky. In a regular shopping mall there are fast-food restaurants and sit-down restaurants as well as a plethora of stores with clothing, shoes, and electronics; there is something for everyone. We can think of BLIP as a patient’s “one stop shopping” source for their health data. Based on the Tidepool Platform, it can keep carbohydrate, insulin and blood glucose data from different sources such as exercise trackers, meal tracking apps, blood glucose monitors, continuous glucose monitors, and pumps. We will have access to simple reports summarizing the information from the data hub.
It sounds amazing! I could almost feel the pulse of the room buzzing with excitement while Brandon Arbiter was sharing his news, sharing his passion, and sharing his vision with the standing room only crowd. He paused several times as impromptu applause filled the room. Yes, Brandon, we share your passion and we share your dream to a proactive and non-static way of monitoring our diabetes. Please go to www.tidepool.org for further information and to get updates as these entrepreneurs continue to build this platform for us so that we may have our own patient centered care resource.
Also, if you are looking for a free app for nutrition tracking, try Meal Memory by Databetes founder Doug Canter. Canter’s program allows individuals to take photographs of their food and connect the photos with blood sugars using Apple Health Integration… for the purpose of tracking and displaying pre and post meal blood sugars. If the person with diabetes does not have Apple Health, the app prompts the user to enter post meal blood sugars. Next time this same food is eaten, the user will have a better sense of what will happen. Try it with some of your more challenging meals… you may like it!
Diane Bajalia has been living with diabetes since 1989. She resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her family. She also had been leading a DiabetesSisters PODS group (monthly support group meetings) since January 2013.