Michael J. Fox.
More correctly, we are talking about an artificial pancreas system. Using technology, there have been some real breakthroughs in mimicking the pancreas for Type I diabetics recently. We have synchronized continuous measurement glucometers to track blood sugar levels now linked with pumps to administer the necessary insulin. The latest advancement is adding glucogon to the mix. Rather than just dosing us with insulin alone, the Tandem t:slim now offers a dual hormone system that includes insulin to counter high blood sugar and glucogon to treat low blood sugar.
I am a highly active diabetic who often flirts with hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) reactions. And the tough part for me is that the incidents I do have often happen at night while I am sleeping. While I am not sure I always need a boost of glucogon, it would be nice to have it available to my closed loop measurement/dispenser device. Especially while I sleep.
There are various clinical trials going on now using the t:slim system. I am watching this one closely.
It's pretty hard to reduce costs in healthcare if you don't know how much things costs. Really. Most hospitals do not have a handle on how much it costs to provide care for patients. That is astounding to most of us since we know how much the bills are when we get them. We also know that the first bill should be ignored because they haven't yet talked with our insurance companies. This is crazy, right?
Yes it is. Fortunately there are a few organizations that are actually figuring out costs in a systematic way and then acting on that information to standardize costs for routine procedures and bit by bit bringing down the cost of a hospital stay. Bravo University of Utah! Check it out.
As the big hearing aid manufacturers duke it out for market share, they usually concentrate on acquiring practice groups which then become distribution hubs for their products. Rarely is there a product that helps drive new customer acquisition. The Lyric, when it first arrived, was a real innovation that created that kind of stir. ReSound launched the LiNX at the CES show in January of this year with the same kind of fanfare. Enough time has passed to take a look at its impact and at its potential to drive new custmers into the hearing industry.
By now, Apple has shared their technology with other manufacturers as well, but the LiNX was first. Having seen a demonstration early on, I must say I was impressed. the interface for this hearing aid is carefully designed for baby boomers. All of the hearing aid controls can be accessed from an iPhone. If you are an iPhone user, learning to master this device is pretty easy. If not, it may take a while to gett he hang of it, but the sound quality is quite good and having mastery over one's hearing environment via a mobile phone is very appropriate for baby boomers. Pretty cool!
Here are a couple of reviews from users: this is from the Apple iTunes site and this is from a blogger who has been following the launch of the LiNX. My sense is that the product is great but consumers have not yet caught up with it. It's still not clear whether it is a game changer or an interesting niche product. Consumers, especially hearing aid consumers, can be fickle. Is this one ahead of its time or just right for baby boomers who need help with their hearing. We'll be watching this one.
I ran across this article about how Medicare Advantage is back in the spotlight, this time as a model for future private/public partnerships in creating viable healthcare insurance plans. With lower CMS subsidies than in the past, Medicare Advantage has been forced to get more efficient in delivery of services and in keeping their costs down. Interesting.
Wellness and disease management programs have moved from "interesting ideas" to quantifiable programs that affect the bottom line for many companies. Humana has published data recently of programs that have slashed unscheduled absences and reduced monthly claim costs. Thjs may seem like old news but it's the data that is getting notice.
Here is some more data to support this trend from the Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress.
About three years ago I had a meeting in Seattle with a company that felt they were on the verge of a breakthrough in treating depression and Parkinson's disease. They had terrific results in their clinical trials. They just needed to raise another round of financing to be able to finish their clinical studies and have something with which to go to market. They are no longer with us. Why? I don't really know.At the time, one of the key diagnostic measures, the fMRI, was not fully embraced by the clinical community. But, my oh my, things have changed for neuromodulation as a treatment modality.
The race is on to decide who will dominate the market. It looks like Medtronic has the lead. Here is a tidbit about the current (no pun intended) state of affairs.
The market for treatent of diabetes is vast, so is the money that can be made. This verdict is a cautionary tale about admitting a problem and taking one's losses at the right time. The right time when it is clear that there is clinical evidence of a problem. The data doesn't lie. If you let anything else get in the way of accepting bad news and dealing with it honestly and openly, you are just going to add fuel to the fire as this story indicates.
For diabetics, we rely on our doctors to help us manage our conditions. Our doctors, in turn, rely on drug manufacturers to be truthful about any and everything concerning a drug that is being prescribed. It's not the doctors' fault when something went wrong, nor was it our fault as diabetics. A little truth a lot sooner would have saved Takeda and Eli Lilly huge amounts of money and, more importantly, credibility.
This is a follow up to my most recent post on mobile apps. A blogger from Tech Soup posted this report at the Mobile World Congress. Much of the report is about how the cost of access for mobile apps will be coming down. That is good news, of course, but apps focused on diabetes management will need to get more targeted in the information they manage and more automated in the collection of the data. I'm just saying....
With the popularity of fitness apps, especially those worn on the wrist, you would think most diabetics would find good uses for at least one the 1100 apps now available and yet only 1.2% are using them according to a recent study. The main problem is that they still require a lot of manual input rather than lifting data directly from the glucometer and other devices that diabetics use every day. This may seem like a simple thing and yet here we are with too many gadgets that proudly feature bells and whistles without the basics. Glooko may be on the verge of changing this with their newly FDA approved device. Check it out.
Glooko addresses the most basic problem: data upload and download. There is still the behavioral element of changing one's diet and exercise regimes. Maybe, just maybe, between Glooko and Omada Health, we may see a significant advance in managing diabetes through the use of technology. I am watching it carefully!