The next generation of Dexcom sensor builds on the company’s existing CGM capability. It is being argued that Dexcom’s latest G6 sensors could convert CGM unbelievers into believers. Due to arrive in the UK in the next few weeks, the company believes it will help diabetics to rediscover ‘letting go’ through a process of learning to trust the technology. After all, you trust your meter, don’t you?
The latest developments will simply take blood testing out of the equation as the sensor no longer even needs calibrating. However, blood testing will always be there as a safety net; you can always check your glucose level with a blood test anyway, or learn to let go slowly by twin-tracking testing and CGM until you trust it. But ultimately it means you should have one less thing to do.
It’s widely said that Dexcom CGM holds the ground on accuracy in this very specialised arena. Jake Leach is the senior vice president of research and development projects for Dexcom Ltd and has been with the company since 2004. He says “The G6 will be unrivalled for accuracy, then to sense away, with an improved performance and no calibration required. We are introducing Donevia sensor membrane technology and using adhesive materials that are similar to those used for wound healing and therefore should be more comfortable to wear the people diabetes. We’ve also improved on the algorithm which in turn explains the improvement and accuracy.”
The new sensors in the G6 series will last for 10 days. The transmitter itself is smaller, being 30% thinner, and will last for three months without requiring charging, and the applicator is completely new and much easier to use. There are fewer steps to complete the insertion process too. Says Leach, “It’s fast, easy and you don’t feel it at all, plus it’s over quickly. By using the new Donevia membrane technology there’s been an improvements in the stability of the sensor signal as well as a reduction in what we call ‘sensor noise’, which is basically interference that is not about glucose itself.”
The system receiver has also undergone improvements, while there’s also the option to see CGM results on an Apple watch via an app. The touchscreen receiver includes alerts, but these are more customisable so they can be much more personal. It’s possible to set up alerts specifically for certain periods such as weekends or for a specific activity. The point of this is so that wearers do not have to experience ‘alarm fatigue’. In addition we’ve added in a new glucose alert, ‘urgent low soon’. For examples if you took too much insulin at dinner and alerts only five minutes before going low might not be enough, so the new alert gives the user more time to react. You can also set up alert schedules, which offsets of alarms during specified time Rangers which are also customisable.
“The new algorithm eliminates the need for calibrations,” explains Leach, “But users can put them in if they want to otherwise the sensors are factory calibrated. We have also addressed the fact that in previous generations of sensors wearers sometimes experienced a modicum of variability on the first day of use; it used to have to settle and that’s no longer the case.”
Among the amendments and improvements to the system is the increased interoperability. Which is to say that the system is not a ‘lock in’, it can ‘talk’ to various other systems, so the user can interface with a choice of other healthcare systems or apps. At present Dexcom’s API (a requirement of these inter-device or inter-software chats) is only available in the US, but it will be here too soon. With this, the user can grant access to different apps, such as Nutrino, Glooko, One Drop (all of which are available in the UK but are not the size they are in the US).
This is in addition to Dexcom’s own software, Clarity which gives easy access to data analysis and includes insights, support and notifications, as well as Follow, Dexcom’s opt-in for letting other people see your data and results). It is also via this API that Dexcom works with its insulin and insulin delivery partners, Lilly, Insulet and Tandem. With the latter two companies, it means their insulin pumps talk direct to Dexcom’s CGM making dosing decisions faster and simpler.
Says Leach, “We are on a continued mission to improve performance and convenience, have clinical impact in terms of improving diabetes control, as well as to offer greater connectivity and interoperability. G6 does all these.”
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