Stethoscope and a syringe on a diabetes test

Diabetes affects more than 387 million people worldwide: nearly one out of ten adults 18 or older. Without proper maintenance of blood sugar levels, patients can develop secondary complications leading to blindness, circulation problems resulting in amputation, and even death. Healthcare workers have a difficult time in determining the correct insulin dosages for individual patients. A software system called Glucommander from Glytec Systems works well at titrating the right dose to bring blood sugar levels under control. In hospital settings, the system has resulted in an 86% reduction in hypoglycemic episodes, 46% fewer hyperglycemic episodes, and a 31% reduction in 30-day hospital readmissions.

The company has now released results of a 30-day study for outpatients using the system in their homes. The subjects were given a glucometer that transmits data readings using a cellular data connection. The Glucommander system would then send the recommended dosage to the patient as a text message. The results of the test showed that 90% of the subjects in the study were able to achieve their target levels within three weeks.

These results are interesting on a number of levels. First, it shows that the dosing process can be automated effectively, with better results than those achieved by doses set by healthcare professionals. Perhaps more significant is the fact that this could be a key step in automating the entire glucose level management process. If the dosing process is reliable, then it can be used to link wearable constant glucose measurement devices and wearable insulin pumps.  The combination would function as a replacement pancreas, and could well be more effective than insulin injections at wide intervals throughout the day. This approach to diabetes treatment could well reduce the complications and expenses that are now associated with the disease.