Diabetes impairs the body’s natural ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Glucose is the primary means of transporting energy to different parts of the body, but serious problems can arise if the level gets either too low or too high. Diabetic patients must take blood samples throughout the day to measure their blood sugar, and then adjust the amount of insulin that they must inject in order to maintain proper levels.
One major goal for wearable Health Tech is to create a system that can monitor glucose levels continuously. Some devices do this by inserting a small probe below the skin, but a non-invasive approach would have multiple advantages. Echo Therapeutics has created the Symphony constant glucose measurement (CGM) system. This is a patch device that sticks to the skin of the patient and monitors blood sugar levels every minute and transmits the data wirelessly to a display. The skin needs to be abraded to remove dead cells. It also only provides a relative measure; you need to calibrate the display with the results of a blood sample in order to get an accurate measure. Still, these limitations are minor compared with traditional methods.
The company is targeting hospital applications initially, where patients need to be monitored for high or low blood sugar levels even if they are not diabetic. The constant monitoring frees up healthcare workers to perform other tasks, and provides a more accurate and frequent tracking of glucose levels. The basic technology can be used to track other biometric markers, and could be adapted for mobile use for patients outside a clinical setting.