Sunday, November 1, 2015

Connecting all electronics -- the diabetes edition

Earlier this year, Medtronic introduced the MiniMed Connect. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided to pre-order it. Because why not? I could always return it for a refund, right? 

The price of $199 seems pretty high to try it out but sometimes you have to take a risk. The Connect arrived recently. It has been about a month and a half (I originally wrote this after having it for a few weeks but am just now getting around to posting it).  

The Connect is promoted as a way for our (those of us with  diabetes) team, i.e. parents, doctors, etc, to keep better tabs on our sugars with us. The angle they've promoted is for parents to be able to access the data of their children while the kids are at school or at a sleep over. This is brilliant. I'm sure it would have eased my parents' minds when I was a kid. So, a strong selling point. But for me? Not so much. I'm an adult. I live alone. I'm not in a committed relationship. Yes, I have parents and siblings but shouldn't at this age I be breaking away from them a little and becoming more independent? The selling point of others having access to my data didn't work on me. Also the theory of big brother and everyone being all up in my business does not appeal to me. I love my privacy (despite blogging all about my life). 

What caused me to finally break down and order the Connect? The fact it automatically uploads the data to CareLink, which is something I basically never did. Not intentionally, I just never thought about it. So yay for that! 

I also like how I can just open the app on my phone to check how my sugars are doing or how much insulin is left in my pump or the life of my CGM or battery. All good stuff. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts and more often than not there is not a convenient spot to hook my pump to. So I hook it on my undergarments and off I go. Can we just say it is awkward having to hike up a dress or skirt at your desk when you want to see what number the CGM has because you either a) want to nibble on something or b) aren't feeling the best and wondering if your sugars are going high or low? Also, way easier to read the screen on my phone in the middle of the night than fumbling around to find the pump. 

Overall, I like it. I forget about the app though so I know I'm not utilizing it nearly enough. Is it worth the $199? For me, probably not but I wont' be returning it because a) it is too late and b) I have hopes for improvements of it as I'm sure they will improve aspects of it, particularly with the app. 

Here are things I wish Medtronic would add to the Connect (or really, to the App) to make it more enticing to all people to use:
  • I want to see more than the past 24 hours. Yes, I could log into the CareLink app but it never accepts my user info and it is annoying when you have to log into several apps. Also, being able to look at more than a day could help me become more proactive in managing my diabetes and spotting trends. I don't log into CareLink on the computer and take hard looks at my uploaded data. It would be nice to look at several days of data as I test my blood sugar and think "Hmm...my blood sugars seem to be running high in the morning. Has this been a recent trend""; 
  • I want to be able to add notes. Yes there are apps you can do this in but they don't communicate with the MiniMed Connect app. Plus, it is best to simplify things and not have to open up several apps. So to put the notes in a different app you have to manually enter your blood sugars. Anything and everything impacts my blood sugars. When reviewing numbers, it would be beneficial to see notes on if something was potentially impacting it. That info could lead to a much better understanding. I would love to put in notes such as:
    • Starting a new job so my routine is changing;
    • High stress because my football team is stinking royally;
    • Bad infusion site; and
    • Guessed wrong on the carb count when eating out.
It is things like those which would make the device more appealing to me as a party of one. Overall, it is a great device and I see lots of benefits to it but for me, a single person on their own, it doesn't add much to the table besides being yet another device to lug around. I need to get better at accessing the data on my phone. I still out of habit pull out my actual pump to look at the CGM info and to see how many units of insulin are in the pump. 

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