September 25, 2014

Possible Help for Diabetes Apps, Devices, and Tools

When I read this Joslin blog, I had two reactions. First, I wondered why they would do this and second, I wondered if they would botch this like so many other things they have attempted.

I do have some preconceived ideas that caused the reactions. I purchased one tool several years ago now, and after two months, it went in the trash where it belonged. I have not purchased another tool, device, or app since and probably will not purchase another even if the hype looks grand.

Most tools, apps, and devices do not work well together and often require entering and reentering data multiple times. Not only that, transferring the data to the office of the doctor would require entering the data again. Not that the doctor would even look at it, but when required I would always need to gather up papers and enter the data for sending it in the required format.

I have found that using a spreadsheet and printing this out to mail to the doctor worked and did not require entering the data more than one time. Now that the doctor can receive confidential emails, I find it easy to enter the data one time and transmit it. Most doctors do not accept emails and therefore the telephone is the only way to give them the data unless I wish to drive 30 plus miles one way to his office.

I can only hope that Joslin does the right things to have more apps, tools, and devices work together seamlessly. They say they will be working with diabetes medical device and technology companies to improve development of easier to use, more widely accessible products that will help patients manage their diabetes. They claim this could include anything from providing clinical input that may impact the redesign of pumps to be faster, more accurate, and cost-effective, or to develop a mobile app that tracks your blood glucose levels.

A nationwide shortage of endocrinologists, diabetes nurse educators, and adult diabetes care centers has burdened the healthcare system and impacted timely patient care. Joslin believes the future of medicine, particularly diabetes care, must begin with self-management technologies.

What is significant is what Joslin does not say. They do not say they will work for interoperability and this is the failing of most apps, tools, and devices. The other important missing point is complying with HIPAA. This means that the companies can mine personal data and sell it to other companies. This is the problem of 99 percent of the current crops of these available. Anything using smartphones and iPhone have this weakness.

I want my personal diabetes and medical data secure and until this is the case, I will not use the defective implements now available. I feel that the Joslin Institute for Technology Translation has a lot of work to accomplish and this blog leaves many unanswered questions.

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