Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We can drive a remote control car on Mars, but we can't get better blood sugar accuracy?

[So, it's been a while since I've participated in the DSMA Blog Carnival, I apologize. I've been a little preoccupied, with diabetes technology, actually! I recently started pumping (again) and using a CGM (for the first time), and it has been a roller coaster of a ride figuring it all out. As this month's DSMA Carinval was about technology, though, I thought that it was a fitting time to get back into the blogging game.]

Here's my take on diabetes technology, my hope for the future, my complaints about current D-tech, etc.

First, let me say that we have come quite a long way since I was first diagnosed. I was diagnosed in 1993, when you still had to wipe the blood off of your test strip before you stuck it in your meter, and then had to wait FIVE minutes to see what your blood sugar was. Insulin pumps were not the norm, and CGMs were a pipe dream. I remember when I got my first One Touch meter that ONLY took 45 seconds, and it was a dream come true! Oh, how I loved that One Touch. So, before I continue, please know that I am truly grateful for the technology I have today, because I know what things could be like.

That being said, I want to make one thing clear. Yes, 5 second glucose meters, home A1C test kits, insulin pumps, CGMs and and iPod apps galore are all great and fun and helpful to a certain extent. But, they do me a crap load of good if they're not accurate.

Did you know glucose meters are still FDA allowed to be +/- 20% off? We all know CGM technology is far from being perfectly accurate, and it's relatively new, so I'll give it a bit of a break. But, I get really frustrated when I hear all these reports from people who attend diabetes conferences where D-tech companies are touting their new and improved whatever-the-heck-product- they-are-selling, and their focus is not on accuracy but on making the design sleeker, or the interface more user friendly, or whatever. Sure, I'd love for my iPod to be able to test my blood sugar, count my carbs, bolus my insulin, e-mail my doctor, pay my pharmacy bill, and julienne my french fries all at the same time. But, if the blood test is still +/- 20% off, than it doesn't actually help me that much. And, if my insulin still might not start working until 15 -30 minutes after I inject, than it still isn't helping me gain the control I want and need.

We can drive a freaking remote control car on Mars, people, so someone PLEASE tell me why we can't have better accuracy than +/- 20%?

So, here is my dream and hope for the future. I want patients, doctors, the FDA, and the ADA and everyone else to not be satisfied with +/- 20% accuracy. I want the D-tech world to listen up and realize that while fancy apps and sleeker designs are nice, what I really want is better accuracy in measurement and insulin that acts faster. Maybe someone should call up the NASA scientists who are all getting laid off soon, and hire them to figure this +/- 20% thing out.

This post is my July entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at


  1. Good Point! I question the priority of Gov't spending and why we don't have better technologies to assist us Diabetic Folks!

    Thanks for the comment on T2T.

  2. Accuracy hasn't changed since the 80s, and the standard is the same from when I was diagnosed about the time when blood meters were just starting to become mainstream in homes. But, finally, the FDA is talking and having a real discussion about tightening this standard to the 10-15% area and that is positive. Will be interesting to see how companies respond to this.

  3. Michael-That is good to hear, hopefully the talk and discussion will turn into action! Thanks for reading!

  4. Very well said!! All of the gadgets we have aren't that great if we can't rely on the information they are giving us!!