A US technology expert has recommended healthcare professionals start wearing continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) so they can help treat people with diabetes.
Adam Brown, head of diabetes technology and digital health for Close Concerns, a healthcare information firm, said that CGMs have had drawbacks, but diabetes educators can play a role in ensuring improved patient experiences.
“I often joke that all CGM manufacturers should have every medical student in the country wear CGM, because it is such an eye opener for them when they wear it,” said Brown, speaking at the American American Association of Diabetes Educators annual meeting.
“It’s a speedometer for your glucose. You get an immediate sense of what it’s like. All of the most empathetic and brilliant healthcare providers I know do this.”
Brown also highlighted some simple steps that could ameliorate frustrations with CGM devices, particularly regarding some first-generation devices. Issues with accuracy, calibration and size have been addressed by patients, and Brown, who has type 1 diabetes, has too been faced with these problems.
“There is nothing more frustrating than getting a false alarm that your glucose is high and checking your glucose and seeing you’re in range or even low,” Brown said.
He added patients can experience further variations from not washing their fingers before blood glucose testing, and to bear in mind CGMs are not perfectly accurate devices.
“I think people are often surprised when they hear that. But, for people who have tested three, four, five times in a row, you can just see the variance. Where things get really dicey is when people don’t wash their hands before checking glucose.”
But with evolving CGM technology, such as the Freestyle Libre which does not require any calibration, patients are going to have better experiences, Brown said.
He again stressed the importance of healthcare professionals, and said they will be more important than ever when helping patients use the devices.
“In the scope of diabetes technology, CGM is a relatively young phenomenon, and I think health care providers are still getting familiar with it.
“This stuff is all about asking questions, troubleshooting, being creative and having a great experience. That’s what diabetes educators are really good at.”