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Diabetes technology report published

By Editor
12th July 2016
Insulin pumps, Latest news Medical devices Self management Self-monitoring of blood glucose Technology

A review on emerging non-invasive glucose monitoring technologies (NIGM) in development for people with diabetes has been published in a report.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre identified a total of 40 emerging NIGM technologies.

The aim of the review was to identify NIGM technologies that were in development (i.e not in widespread use) and where possible, to determine their  stage of development and when they might become available for clinical use in the UK.

The views of healthcare professionals and people with diabetes on the potential impact of these technologies were also included.

‘Little evidence’

Of the 40 NIGM technologies identified, 24 were intermittent and 16 were continuous.

Three general glucose monitoring technique categories were identified: optical, transdermal and electrochemical techniques.

Potential sites of testing included skin, tear fluid, saliva and breath.

Most of the healthcare professionals who were consulted felt unable to comment on the accuracy of the technology and the technique used for measuring glucose levels.

This was due to there being “little evidence available” as well as the development stages of most technologies being “too early” to accurately comment.

Specific concerns about accuracy stated the techniques used seemed “too indirect to satisfy the demanding standards which would be required, for instance, by “driving regulatory authorities” and that some of the methods used “would be affected by how quickly the glucose changes compared to the capillary”.

All the healthcare professionals agreed that all the technologies which had been identified were innovative.

The specificity of a test was also considered an innovative feature.

Positive comments were also made around the connectivity of the technologies, which said the “ability to transfer wireless data to a smart phone and the cloud and to record other data increases its attractiveness”.

It was largely thought that the impact the technology may have on people will be hugely positive.

One comment said: “The features of the technology may have a big quality of life impact on patients. It may reduce complications and ambulance call outs.

Another healthcare professional said: “The reduced financial burden on the NHS in the future could be big if these types of technologies (NIGMs) work.”

Some of the issues surrounding NIGMs which were flagged up included the “cost and clumsy kit”, “risks of infection”(when the eye is involved)  and the size which might make it “difficult for day-to-day use”.

Another potential concern which was raised was trust, because the healthcare professional said if the patient did not believe the reading they might “quickly discard the whole technology, they generally do not like allowing for lag times, so something that samples slowly, or inaccurately will not be widely accepted”.

The people with diabetes or the carers of those with the condition also had positive comments about the up-and-coming technologies with a lot of them welcoming potentially discarding finger-prick testing.

One person said: “If this works and is no bigger in size than current finger-prick meters then I can see this being popular.”

Another commented: “This sounds a lot better than having to do [a] fingerprick on my son.

To download the full report, click here.

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