A scary thought

With Google, Apple, Samsung and Amazon making the deep dive it should come as no surprise that Facebook is about to enter the pool. The social media giant announced they would enter the healthcare arena with a tool designed to connect people with healthcare resources as well as provide checkup reminders. This effort will initially focus on heart disease, cancer and the flu but you can bet your last dollar that diabetes isn’t far behind.

Like all the other cash rich techies and Facebook is no different diabetes is fertile ground to increase usage of its platform. Now we have clue when or what they will do in diabetes, but the Facebook platform does offer some interesting possibilities. Anyone who has used Facebook and who hasn’t knows the power of this platform. The question is will they use this power effectively or will they make the same mistakes as everyone else.

For better or worse Facebook has already become a major resource for patients with diabetes. The good part is seeing patients exchange ideas on everything from which products work well, offering suggestions and encouragement. The bad part is as well intentioned some of this information is there is no vetting process. The ugly part are all these ads which offer quick fixes or cures. Folks diabetes can be controlled but it cannot be cured.

We’re also a little concerned about the patients right to privacy and how others might use this information. It’s one thing when a patient willingly posts their HbA1c or pictures of their CGM data it’s another story however should patients be targeted by unscrupulous advertisers offering false information or outrights scams offering a cure. It’s also possible that companies could use this platform to spread false information regarding a competitor’s product. As we have seen with political ads and posts not everything on Facebook is real.

As Momma Kliff used to say as much as we might be uncomfortable with how things are changing there is no stopping change, so we better get ready to accept the consequences, good and bad, from this change.

Moving onto other news we just love it when a company tries to explain away something not by fixing the problem but changing the terminology. Get a load of this from a note sent by Medtronic to physicians;

“You might be getting questions from patients regarding the “sensor updating” alert. What is this and why does it occur? Most importantly, how do you help your patient understand what this means and how to handle it?

What is Sensor Updating?

If you recall from the Paradigm™ platform pump, the sensor would sometimes give a “sensor error” message. “Sensor updating” in the MiniMed™ 670G system is very similar. A patient will see this alert when the system has detected a potential issue with that particular sensor and will stop displaying sensor glucose values to the patient.”

The note goes onto to state;

“When a patient sees “sensor updating” on their pump home screen, they need to know that they can still check their BG to make dosing decisions, and they are still receiving insulin and can deliver a bolus if needed. The only functionality that is on hold is the display of sensor glucose values, and subsequently they may be in Safe Basal or Manual Mode. The patient will also not receive high or low glucose alerts during this time, so they should be checking their blood glucose on their meter more frequently. The pump will alert the patient every 30 minutes during the sensor updating until the issue is resolved.”

Now we hate to be Captain Obvious here, but the company didn’t send out this note had they not been getting numerous complaints from patients and physicians. It also reinforces what everyone already knows that as much Medtronic wants to claim otherwise their sensor sucks. And yes, it is that simple.

However this note also reinforces something else everyone should know that when the Control IQ from Tandem gets here, a system which uses the very accurate and very reliable Dexcom sensor, the system from a performance perspective will leapfrog the 670G. The fact is the Control IQ all things being equal is going to eat the 670G for lunch. Alias all things are not equal as Medtronic still has the prime formulary position and exclusive contracts, but the Control IQ will push these advantages to the edge.

Right about the new guy Mr. Salmon must feel that he’s already swimming upstream against the tide. (Hey, we told you that with a name like Salmon the fish references would be coming. Let’s just hope for his sake he doesn’t become cooked or smoked Salmon. Sorry but we just couldn’t resist.)

Happy Halloween