Today begins the Fifth Annual Diabetes Blog Week, and I am happy to be participating for my second year! Each day this week, I’ll be responding to a different prompt, sharing my perspective on different topics within the diabetes community. I’m excited to share my thoughts as well as read all the different posts in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). I hope to discover some new and thought provoking blogs as well! So here we go!
Change The World- Monday 5/12
“Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.”
I love technology. I may not always be the first to have the latest and greatest, but I definitely get excited with every advancement. But more than the gadget itself, I love what technology can do to ease and even improve our lives. When used for good, technology can have a powerful influence in shaping people’s behaviors. Where I get excited is how technology can be used to help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Take the Fitbit or other wearable sensors, for example. This simple, discreet wristband essentially tracks distance in the form of steps. Integrated with a smartphone app or wireless USB adaptor, it presents a user-friendly interface with real time tally of steps taken, distance in miles, calories burned, minutes active, and other tracking features. It gives the user simple indicators in a clear way, even using stoplight colors to show when you are close to your goal. It even incorporates with social media, showing you where you rank amongst your friends. Simply by wearing this wristband and having instantaneous access to my daily progress, I’ve found that I have changed my behaviors to reach my daily goal. These changes may be small but they’re still positive changes. Whether that’s taking the long way somewhere or opting for a walk during lunch, every step counts.
This is a post about diabetes, why am I talking about Fitbit? Well because I’m passionate about the integration, communication, and synchronization of all diabetes related devices into a meaningful experience. While there’s been significant progression, we aren’t there yet. My glucose meter talks to my insulin pump, but neither my insulin pump nor my meter talks to my CGM (yes I know some can). None of these are talking to my smartphone. I know there are some great apps out there, and even special meters that can be plugged right into my phone, but that’s not what I want. I don’t want to have to manually enter in my blood sugars or my boluses, I’m lazy and forgetful. I want an app that already knows because it’s collecting data wirelessly from all my devices.
But I don’t want it to stop there, I want clear graphs and indicators providing me trends in my blood sugars and recommendations of what I need to do based on a personalized history and my doctors recommendations. I want it to alert me the way my CGM does when it notices a trend in a negative direction. But I want my alerts to be tailored to me based on the carbs it knows I ate and the insulin it knows I gave. Data is great, but not if I don’t know what to do with it and surely not if it doesn’t have meaning to me as a patient and a person.
We as diabetics do and track so much. There’s so much to remember, so much to calculate. I want something that will reduce my burden, not add to my list of things to do. Why do I love my Fitbit? Because it’s not asking me to count my steps and then enter it in an app, it already knows. It takes that information, calculates it into other meaningful statistics and gives me a sense of what my next steps are (no pun intended). I want this for my diabetes self-management. This is the cause that gets me fired up. I want integration. I want to reduce user burden. I want clear, meaningful data that is comprehendible by someone without a medical degree. Well, what I really want is a cure, but until then, I’m counting on technology to at least make things a little easier.