Diabetes technology was advancing with the development of hybrid closed-loop [HCL] systems and CGM [continuous glucose monitoring] devices before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. The HCL insulin pump has an inbuilt sensor and transmitter attached along with an algorithm program.
The insulin it gives depends on the SG [sensor glucose] reading. The potential of diabetes technology development can transform the way hospitalized diabetic patients can be managed. For example, in an inpatient or hospital setting, the glucose value transmitted wirelessly to the nurse station via the HCL system holds great potential.
The sudden COVID-19 pandemic helped to learn multiple crucial things. Access to healthcare facilities was restricted, so Telehealth was introduced. The providers and patients had to rapidly adopt this new communication method. A microphone and camera or a software app patients had never used before was a safe substitute for clinical visits during the lockdown.
Old patients were at high risk of coronavirus as well as adopting the technology changes was hard for them. In the diabetes clinic, the majority of the staff was teleworking and giving instructions about how to use CGM devices to the majority of diabetic patients. Renewing supplies was also a challenge, which was increasing the possibility of another healthcare crisis.
Hospitals have been managing patients with diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemia in general wards as ICUs are scarce. At times, hospitalizations are delayed or withheld, so patients are managing their diabetes issue at a nursing home or home because of COVID-19 transmission concerns.
Matt Schmidt with Diabetes365.org notes “CGM devices have been a boon in this sudden health crisis by replacing or reducing the need for testing. As the COVID-19 transmission risk decreased it led to crucial time saving and use of PPE kits because nurses did not have to change their personal protective equipment every time, they visited the patient’s room.”
What technology changes to expect in the future associated with diabetes management?
With the accessibility of multiple telemedicine platforms, the majority of outpatient visits will transform into telehealth appointments. Patients will have easy access to doctors, medicines, and supplies.
CGM device use in a hospital setting will increase, thus reducing the workloads for nurses. CGM system has other benefits like intense glucose monitoring, which helps to recognize and avert looming hypoglycemia. With the ease of identifying glycemic trends, insulin adjustments can help in proper blood sugar level control.
Will technology in diabetes progress?
Research associated with diabetes and clinical care is currently a subject of concern as the majority of the focus is on treating infectious diseases. During the 1918 pandemic flu, millions of people across the globe died. Besides, World War I had left horrifying effect. People were not enjoying dreams but living with an utter nightmare.
There are stories of how parents sat helplessly beside their child suffering from ketotic diabetes waiting for looming death. Diabetes was a fatal illness or a death sentence without hope. Fortunately, in 1922 a 14-year patient’s diabetic condition was treated successfully with insulin.
There is a silver lining to every dark side, so never lose hope. Have confidence that technology associated with diabetes will absolutely progress!