Multinational pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Aventis just unveiled it's latest diabetes technology: a stand alone blood glucose monitor that can plug directly into your iPhone and iPod Touch. The device, known as the iBGStar, would allow diabetics to test their blood sugar levels on the go, record notes, and send information to their healthcare providers via a free iPhone App. According to Diabetes Mine, the iBGStar does not yet have FDA 510k clearance, but it is likely to come to market in January or February of 2011 for less than $100. Take a look at how the device will look with its own stylish iPhone case in the photo below. Devices like this are just another way in which continuous health monitoring could revolutionize medicine in the years ahead.
The iBGStar is built off of a very similar technology developed by AgaMatrix (the Jazz Wavesense). However, the Sanofi Aventis device is likely the first that directly plugs the blood glucose monitor directly into the iPhone. This will allow diabetics to carry the iBGStar as just another part of their mobile phone, hopefully granting them more freedom and flexibility in their testing habits. Sanofi Aventis has included their Dynamic Electrochemistry assaying process which reportedly has better accuracy than many glucose meters on the market.
The bigger advantage comes from the iBGStar Monitor App which users will be prompted to download for free the first time they plug in their device to their iPhone. As I mentioned above, the App allows diabetics to notate, record (up to 300 results with date and time), and send their tests to doctors. While many other monitors have allowed you to upload data to your computer, the iPhone connectivity to the iBGStar may make patients more likely to actually take advantage of this opportunity. The more data collected on a patient the more likely that healthcare providers will be able to notice dangerous irregularities and suggest new possible treatments.
Which brings up an interesting point. As cool as this new meter is it doesn't really help with the underlying illness. While monitoring by hand is likely to stay popular in the years ahead, eventually we may see more people switch to continuous glucose monitors which are implanted directly into a patient. When combined with insulin pumps, as we've seen with the 'artificial pancreas', such monitors allow the body's glucose levels to be controlled with minimal input from the patient. I can only imagine the popularity of such automated devices will skyrocket once they are completely tested and approved for widespread use. Would you rather prick your finger for blood all the time and give yourself insulin shots, or would you just like a small implanted device to take care of things for you? Of course, one day we'll hopefully have an outright cure for diabetes itself. We've already seen some very promising success in Brazil using stem cells. Until then, interesting innovations like the iBGStar will hopefully make the daily lives of diabetics easier and safer.