There are several diabetes technologies available that can help individuals with diabetes manage their condition more effectively. Some of these solutions include:
- Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM): These devices continuously measure glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and can alert the user when their glucose is too high or too low.
- Insulin pumps: These devices deliver insulin through a small catheter placed under the skin, which can help to improve glucose control.
- Smart Insulin pens: These are pens with a built-in sensor that can track and record insulin doses, and can also be connected to a mobile app for easy tracking.
- Artificial pancreas: This technology uses a combination of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump to automatically adjust insulin delivery based on glucose levels.
- Diabetic retinopathy screening: This is a non-invasive technology that can detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness in people with diabetes.
- Digital health tools: There are a variety of apps and online tools available that can help individuals with diabetes track their glucose levels, manage their medications, and set reminders for self-care tasks.
These technologies can be extremely beneficial to people diagnosed with diabetes, providing more accurate glucose monitoring and control, less time spent managing the condition, and increased safety.
Patient and clinician perspectives on the use of diabetes technologies
From the patient perspective, diabetes technologies can provide greater convenience, improved glucose control, and increased safety. Continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, and smart insulin pens allow for more accurate and frequent glucose monitoring, which can help individuals with diabetes make more informed decisions about their insulin dosing and other diabetes management strategies.
Digital health tools such as apps and online platforms can make it easier for patients to track their glucose levels, manage their medications, and set reminders for self-care tasks.
From the clinician perspective, diabetes technologies can provide valuable insights into a patient’s glucose control and diabetes management strategies. Continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, for example, can provide real-time data on a patient’s glucose levels and insulin dosing, which can help clinicians make more informed decisions about treatment.
Diabetic retinopathy screening technologies (Artificial Intelligence based) can help identify and monitor early signs of diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness in people with diabetes.
Some patients may find that the cost of diabetes technologies and the need for frequent calibrations and maintenance can be a barrier. Additionally, there might be some concerns related to privacy, security and data sharing.
Therefore, it’s important for healthcare providers to have open and honest conversations with their patients about the potential benefits and drawbacks of using diabetes technologies and help them make informed decisions about which technologies are right for them.
How can I get diabetes technology?
You may consider getting the diabetes technology through the following ways:
Through insurance coverage
Many insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover certain diabetes technologies, such as continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to see what is covered under your plan.
Through financial assistance programs
Some manufacturers and non-profit organizations offer financial assistance programs to help individuals with diabetes afford the cost of certain technologies.
Examples of financial assistance programs include the following:
- The American Diabetes Association (ADA): The ADA provides a number of resources to help individuals with diabetes, including grants and scholarships for those in need of support.
- JDRF CGM Access Program: JDRF offers grants to cover the costs associated with obtaining a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Eligible applicants must have type 1 diabetes and be 18 or older.
- Insulin for Life USA: This non-profit organization provides insulin and other diabetes supplies to people in need in the United States at no cost.
- NeedyMeds: NeedyMeds is a website that helps individuals find assistance programs for prescription medications, including insulin pumps and testing supplies.
5. Partnership for Prescription Assistance: This organization helps connect individuals with available patient assistance programs, which can provide discounted or free access to needed medications and supplies.
If insurance does not cover the cost of a particular technology or if a patient does not qualify for financial assistance, they may choose to pay for it out-of-pocket.
Through Clinical trials
Some patients may have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials for new diabetes technologies that are not yet available on the market.
Before starting to use any diabetes technology, it’s recommended to check with your medical doctor to ensure that the device is appropriate for you and to learn how to properly use and maintain the device. An healthcare provider will also be able to provide information on how to obtain it and any additional costs you may need to consider.
How Blood Glucose Monitoring Works?
Blood glucose monitoring is a way to track and measure the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. This is important for individuals with diabetes, as it allows them to monitor their glucose levels and adjust their insulin dosage or other treatment as needed to keep their glucose levels within a healthy range.
This is the most common method of monitoring blood glucose levels. A small drop of blood is obtained by pricking the finger with a lancet, and then placed on a test strip that is inserted into a glucose meter. The meter will then display the glucose level.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)
This method uses a small sensor that is inserted under the skin to continuously monitor glucose levels in the interstitial fluid. Data from the sensor is transmitted to a monitor, which displays the glucose level in real-time.
Flash Glucose Monitoring
This method uses a small wearable sensor that is placed on the skin, which can be scanned with a mobile device. The sensor measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and provides real-time glucose readings.
Regardless of the method used, it’s essential to calibrate the device and check the accuracy of the results, and to keep the device clean and properly maintained. It’s recommended to consult with a medical doctor to ensure that the monitoring device is appropriate for you and to learn how to properly use and maintain the device.
How Artificial Pancreas Works?
An artificial pancreas, also known as an “closed-loop” or “automated insulin delivery” system, is an advanced diabetes technology that uses a combination of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump to automatically adjust insulin delivery based on glucose levels.
The artificial pancreas system is designed to mimic the function of a healthy pancreas, which continuously monitors glucose levels and releases insulin as needed to keep glucose levels within a healthy range.
The artificial pancreas system typically consists of three main components:
- A continuous glucose monitor: A small sensor that is inserted under the skin to continuously measure glucose levels in the interstitial fluid.
- An insulin pump: A device that delivers insulin through a small catheter placed under the skin.
- A control algorithm: This is the “brain” of the system, which uses the glucose data from the CGM to determine the appropriate insulin dosage and sends this information to the insulin pump.
The artificial pancreas system works by automatically adjusting the insulin delivery based on the glucose levels measured by the CGM. If the glucose level is too high, the system will increase insulin delivery to bring the level down. If the glucose level is too low, the system will decrease insulin delivery to bring the level up.
Artificial pancreas systems are still in the development stage and are not yet widely available for use, but it’s been show promising results in clinical trials. Artificial pancreas systems requires close monitoring and maintenance.
Insulin Pumps and Automated Insulin Delivery
An insulin pump is a device that delivers insulin to the body through a small tube that is inserted under the skin. The pump is about the size of a cell phone and can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket. It is connected to a small needle that is inserted under the skin, typically in the abdomen.
The insulin pump can be programmed to deliver insulin in a continuous, steady dose, or in response to glucose levels measured by a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Automated insulin delivery (AID) systems, also known as “artificial pancreas” or “closed loop” systems, combine an insulin pump with a CGM to automatically adjust insulin delivery based on the patient’s glucose levels.
The system uses a computer algorithm to continuously monitor the patient’s glucose levels and adjust the insulin delivery accordingly. This can help to prevent both high and low blood sugar levels and improve glucose control overall.
Overall, insulin pumps and automated insulin delivery systems can be useful tools for people with diabetes, especially those with type 1 diabetes, to help manage their blood sugar levels and improve their quality of life.
How To Get Affordable Insulin?
It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice when trying to access affordable insulin. Below are a few ways to get affordable insulin:
- Affordable Insulin Now Act: Out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 for insulin users on Medicare plans and private insurance plans.
- Insurance: Many insurance plans cover the cost of insulin, but the coverage and cost-sharing requirements can vary. Check with your insurance provider to see what is covered under your plan, and whether there are any lower-cost options available.
- Patient Assistance Programs: Many pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs for people who are unable to afford their insulin. These programs can provide free or low-cost insulin to those who qualify.
- Discount Programs: Some retailers, such as Walmart and Kroger, offer discounted prices on certain insulin products. Some also offer a savings card that can be used to lower the cost at the pharmacy.
- Generic Insulin: Generic versions of insulin are available and can be less expensive than brand-name versions. However, it’s important to note that not all types of insulin have a generic alternative.
- Buying Insulin from other countries: Some people have reported buying insulin from Canada and other countries where it is cheaper than in the US. However, it’s important to be aware that buying prescription drugs from other countries is not FDA approved and may be illegal, and also may not be safe.