New Tool Will 'SHARE' Glucose Levels from CGM on iPhone

October 22, 2014

A new tool enabling the glucose levels of diabetes patients who are using the Dexcom G4 Platinum Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System to be transmitted to the smartphones of up to five recipients has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Dexcom SHARE uses a secure wireless connection to transmit the information, and "followers" can then remotely monitor a patient's glucose information and receive alert notifications from almost anywhere via their Apple iPhone or iPod touch.

In this way, parents and personal caregivers can gain "peace of mind and reassurance when they are apart" from their diabetic loved ones, says Dexcom in a release announcing the approval.

There are two components: the SHARE device and an app. The SHARE device will start shipping this week in the United States, priced at $299 for the device and free SHARE service. The cost is not covered by insurance.

The Dexcom SHARE and Follower Apps will be available on October 22 from the Apple  Store.

Sharing Blood Glucose Information Could Be "Great Help"

The Dexcom SHARE "is the first accessory to a CGM system that will be able to transmit data in real time…accessible from several smartphones," said Jerome Place, of Hôpital Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France, a clinical research engineer who has worked in the diabetes field for many years.

Dexcom is one of three companies that market CGM systems, the other two being Abbott and Medtronic.

Medtronic is trying to develop a web platform for such monitoring, said Mr Place, but patients will have to connect their device to a computer for data to be uploaded.

"I think that this new [Dexcom] device could be a great help, in particular for children and during nighttime," he told Medscape Medical News.

Real-time data from current CGM systems can be seen only by the owner, he explained. "They are the only ones who can hear a hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia alarm when it comes up. But what if the patient is sleeping? Or doesn't hear the alarm (eg, children playing at school)?"

Many parents of diabetic children have asked for a system that can be installed at their bedside, so that if something happens during the night, they will be alerted, he notes.

"The night is critical, as the patient is not awake and hypoglycemia can therefore be more dangerous. This has been shown in various clinical studies, in particular summer camps: despite having a CGM sensor, hypos are more frequent and longer than if the system is coupled with a remote monitoring system [ Diabetes Technol Ther. 2014;16:1-7]."

And while such remote monitoring systems have been developed for use in clinical trials, this appears to be the first that will be commercially available, he said.

And as well as being an aid for family members, such a system could also serve caregivers such as nurses or clinicians, "as long as data transmission is safe and secure and that real time is effective," added Mr Place, who was not involved in the development of the new Dexcom SHARE tool.

And "if patients allow their caregivers to access these data, their insulin treatment could be adapted more frequently than when they come for a visit (generally every 3 months)."

He said he was certain European patients too would like to see Dexcom SHARE be made available there, "although the question will be the price and the need for a smartphone with data coverage, which could be expensive for some patients."

Android Version Coming Soon

The Dexcom SHARE consists of a small cradle device in which the Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM receiver is docked. The cradle also functions as a battery charger for the receiver and must be connected to an electrical outlet.

The cradle is equipped with Bluetooth technology, enabling the device to pair with the sharer's Apple device — glucose data are then uploaded to a secure server, and up to five other followers can then remotely receive notifications about glucose levels and trends.

Currently the Dexcom SHARE works only with the iPhone or iPod Touch, the company says.

"At the time of development of the Dexcom SHARE System, only Apple/Mac iOS systems had Bluetooth low-energy capabilities, which is how Dexcom SHARE transmits data from the cradle to the phone," a spokesperson explained to Medscape Medical News.

But "Dexcom is looking to have the feature of sharing CGM data with Android users in the future."

Mr Place has reported he has no relevant financial relationships.

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