If you’re anything like me, you’re currently clocking data on your CGM, your insulin pump, your BG meter, and any other number of devices including mobile apps for diabetes, fitness, or menstrual cycle, and wearable fitness devices like Fitbit.
It’s easy to look at one post-meal high and make a judgment call. But it’s really hard to look at months worth of data and try to pull out patterns to really improve overall BGs and health. Websites that integrate with my OmniPod and CGM (and are Mac compatible…don’t get me started on this…Gah!) only have the capability to really track BG and carb counts well. But we all know it’s the type of carbs, not the number of carbs that really matters. Also, was I especially active on a particular day? Stressed from a big meeting at work? Having PMS? So many variables to consider!
Since I already have all the BG and insulin data on my pump, meter, and CGM, (that I’ve laboriously collected!) I literally fantasize about just uploading those items to a single program online and then using apps of my choice to input details about my other “life variables,” such as food, exercise and activities, moods, monthly cycle, etc…..and finally (here’s the kicker) have the apps sync their data with the existing pump/meter/CGM data online in the same program! Perfect! Easy! Right? No way!
As you’re probably well aware, most of our diabetes meters, pumps, and CGMs have proprietary software and/or limited relationships with other diabetes-device companies. So, based on who manufactured our devices, we’re all pretty much limited to one or two platforms for viewing the data…and those options sadly don’t integrate with apps we’re using to track our food, fitness, etc.
My current work-a-round solution for viewing OmniPod and CGM data (on a Mac) is Diasend, however even here you need a Clinic ID# (or to register as a non-US citizen) or your CGM tab will be grayed out. I also use the mySugr app for logging (btw…I love mySugar), Google Cal for my monthly cycle and HRT, and just started tracking activity and sleep with a Fitbit Flex. I make it work but it’s still me piecing together data from four different locations.
Fortunately (and just in the nick of time if you ask me) the US is at the beginning of a wave of personalized, data-centric healthcare, sometimes called the Quantified Self. A lot of new data collection platforms designed for non-PWDs (like Fitbit and Lose It!) are using open APIs, which means they share and can integrate data. After years of finding work-a-rounds and “making do” I feel like the current big data trend in healthcare is finally going to make my fantasy a realty…in the very near future. So, everyone put down your proprietary diabetes devices for a second and raise your glass! Here’s to hoping!
Super interested in the Quantified-Self movement like me? Here are a few really cool recent articles:
Will An App A Day Keep The Doctor Away? The Coming Health Revolution (Forbes)
Solving America’s Big Health Care Challenges With Big Data (Huffington Post)
How Patient Generated Data Changes Healthcare (Information Week Healthcare)