A new partnership between Medtronic and Fitbit will allow diabetic patients with continuous glucose monitors to combine that information with activity data collected by their Fitbit, helping patients get more insights into their glucose trends and insulin needs.
Since exercise has an effect on glucose levels, it’s important for those with the condition to track their activity. In the past, this usually meant taking a blood sample, logging the levels, logging activity, and then inputting all of the information manually.
Continuous glucose monitors, like the iPro2 Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system, have been around for a while.These devices measure extracellular glucose levels just beneath the skin, a surrogate for blood glucose levels. Last year, Medtronic combined that with an insulin pump and got FDA approval for the first “closed-loop” glucose monitoring and insulin delivery system for patients.
That system gets us a bit closer to the “holy grail” of an artificial pancreas. But one thing it doesn’t account for well is exercise and activity. That’s left to the user to track and adjust for manually.
Now, Medtronic’s iPro2 myLog mobile medical app automatically combines metrics from Fitbit activity trackers with their data. While that won’t generate any automated changes in insulin dosing, it could help users better correlate how physical activity affects their glucose levels and adjust more proactively.
There are plenty of health apps and devices that offer people with diabetes a deeper insight into the disease, including “smart socks” that monitor the temperature of the foot and can sense inflammation. These kinds of devices can help generate a stream of data that’s automatically and frequently collected for patients with diabetes. Combined with tools like artificial intelligence, that could help generate insights that lead quickly to adjustments in therapy to promote better control and stave off complications.
It’s important, then, that these devices collect accurate data. And while there’s some data on the accuracy of Fitbit trackers, a lot more work would be needed before it could actually be incorporated into a closed-loop glucose monitoring/insulin delivery system.
Vice president of Non-Intensive Diabetes Therapies at Medtronic, Laura Stoltenberg, recently summed up the company’s reason for this collaboration in a statement:
“By creating a connection between physical activity and glucose levels, our iPro2 myLog mobile app solution provides new tools and insights, so that physicians can optimize therapy and patients can better understand how to manage their diabetes. By helping people with diabetes implement lasting lifestyle changes, this partnership underscores our commitment to transforming diabetes care, together, for greater freedom and better health.”