As diabetes treatment goes high-tech, diabetics are exposed to ever growing amounts of information about the state of their bodies—and many of those people are starting to wonder what they’re going to do with it all. Devices such as continuous glucose-monitoring systems offer one way of analyzing this growing stream of data, but other options exist as well. InterMed Health Technologies in Cambridge, Mass., for example, offers the Patient Data Handler (PDH), a device that wirelessly interacts with a regular glucose meter, automatically recording the readings after each blood test. Piggybacking on traditional diabetes technology, the PDH sends the patient’s health information via modem or broadband connection to a central server every night, where InterMed’s software analyzes it and produces a personalized feedback report, which is then e-mailed to the patient and care provider. Because it’s wireless, this data transfer requires no action by the user. InterMed, which offers similar systems for people with asthma and heart problems, is currently working on enrolling patients in the system through HMOs.
Those who prefer measuring their glucose on the go can choose other alternatives. HealthPia America, a New Jersey–based biotech company, offers a handy glucose-measuring device called the GlucoPack that can be fitted onto a regular cell phone. The system works just like a standard glucose meter: patients test their blood using a traditional lancet, then use a special strip stored in the cell phone to analyze it. The information is downloaded to the phone, where it can be text-messaged to a caregiver. HealthPia’s system was first tested in South Korea but received FDA approval in 2006.