AT&T is teaming up with the manufacturers of a smart glucose monitor, in an attempt to help diabetic patients better record and share their blood sugar levels. Called YOFiMeter, the monitor is an all-in-one finger prick testing kit that analyzes a patient's blood sugar count and stores that information in the cloud. And now with the help of AT&T, patients can send that info to their doctors over the company's wireless network.
It's certainly not the first wireless device aimed at making glucose monitoring easier. And YOFiMeter hasn't been approved by the FDA just yet, so it's unclear how beneficial it will be as a clinical tool. AT&T says the device is in the middle of getting FDA clearance, though. Also, patients will need to be comfortable sending their private health data over a wireless network; AT&T assures its network is "highly secure," but doesn't go into much detail about how.
Patients need to be okay with sending private health data over a wireless network
If it does secure regulatory approval, YOFiMeter could simplify a big part of daily life for diabetics: keeping tabs on blood glucose levels. With diabetes, the body doesn't produce enough insulin — a crucial regulator of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Without insulin, glucose can build up and starve the body's cells of energy. It's why diabetics must regularly inject themselves with insulin, to keep their blood sugar levels at bay.
Patients need to monitor their blood sugar frequently — usually before and after they eat — to make sure their levels don't get too high. To do this, people must prick their fingers multiple times a day with a lancet to draw small samples of blood. The samples are then placed on glucose measuring strips, which are inserted into a monitoring device that measures the amount of glucose in the blood. The patient has to then log those measurements in a book or online, so he or she has a record of glucose fluctuations. These logs can let doctors know if a patient needs to change their medication dosages or their diet.
Altogether monitoring can be a pretty tedious process — so tedious that people with diabetes will sometimes skip testing. That can be pretty bad for their health. Poor control of blood sugar over time can lead to serious complications like kidney issues, heart problems, or loss of sight.
YOFiMeter is designed to make glucose monitoring easier, so that patients will test more regularly and avoid these adverse health issues. All the parts needed for glucose testing — the lancet, the strip, and the monitor — are combined into a single device. Plus, YOFiMeter is supposed to store all of a patient's previous measurements to the cloud, eliminating the need for a logbook. And with AT&T's network, a patient can send their logs for the week to a doctor wirelessly, without having to schedule an appointment. That way, a doctor can better understand if a patient's blood sugar changes are a cause for concern.
AT&T says production of the YOFiMeter will start sometime in early 2016. There aren't any details on a price or when that FDA approval might be expected.