Someday medical science will find a cure for diabetes. Until that happens, however, those who deal with the daily demands of this disease are getting a lot of new help in the form of mobile technology. Also coming this year are more efficient pumps and better methods for measuring glucose levels.
For the first time, diabetics will be able to enlist the aid of their smartphones to manage their treatment routines. This will include the exciting capability of remote insulin dosing.
The FDA has so far not approved any smartphone apps for diabetes management. That will soon change, said John Sheridan, CEO of Tandem Diabetes. The company hopes to be the first to have a diabetes smartphone app approved in 2021.
Tandem already has an app on the market that is close to that goal. The t:connect app serves as an easy-to-use secondary display for the t:slim insulin pump. This allows users to stay better informed about their diabetes management using a phone.
But now Tandem is adding a new function to the t:connect. It will allow for remote bolusing using a mobile app for an existing t:slim pump. This clears the way for what promises to be an all-new kind of “smart” insulin pump. Bolusing refers to administering a single dose of a drug in one delivery action.
Another exciting device coming out in 2021 is made by the Insulet Corporation of Boston. It’s called the Omnipod 5. This device is a type of artificial pancreas technology described as a closed-loop system that can couple a tubeless patch pump with a CGM using a smart algorithm.
CGM stands for continuous glucose monitoring. It’s accomplished by inserting a tiny sensor beneath the skin on the arm or belly.
New kinds of insulin pumps will also be introduced in 2021. Medtronic will bring out its 780G, a next-generation pump that will offer Bluetooth connectivity for remote updating.
Another new feature of the 780G will be that it will work with Medtronic’s Zeus CGM sensor. It will require just one calibration on the first day of wear. No further finger sticks will be needed beyond that point over a seven-day wear period.
A second new feature of the 780G is the capability for automatic correction of bolus delivery every five minutes. The advantage of this is that it keeps users in optimal range automatically and can adjust for missed meal doses.