A woman checking her blood glucose levels.
A woman checking her blood glucose levels.
 

The Personal Impact of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Technology


What if your grandfather didn’t have to deal with cumbersome test strips and confusing information to manage his diabetes? What if a seven-year-old child with diabetes didn’t have to feel nervous or afraid every time she had her finger pricked? These are the hurdles posed by current continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology, and the questions Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) is answering with our breakthrough technology embedded in a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

A CGM is a mobile device for diabetics which uses a tiny sensor inserted under the skin to test blood sugar levels throughout the day. It’s a better solution for quick and accurate diabetes monitoring—both diabetics and their doctors get access to real-time information without many of the barriers of traditional testing methods.

Diabetic girl seeing her blood glucose levels.

But it’s not a perfect solution—yet. The primary hurdle for CGM technology solutions has always been the combination of size, weight and power (SWaP). After all, a CGM is a portable vital sign monitoring (VSM) device worn on a diabetic’s body, usually attached to their arm or belly. But because it needs to continually have power in order to collect data, it’s difficult to make them big enough to function while not being obtrusive to the wearer.

This SWaP challenge is one well within our expertise to solve as a leader in digital healthcare solutions, specifically in the arena of wearable technology and chronic disease management. And we’ve been hard at work helping CGM technology manufacturers (most notably China’s Meiqi) develop devices that are smaller and smarter than ever before. As a result, the technology we’re helping create is powering a whole new generation of convenient, less-disruptive VSM technology.

And as digital healthcare comes closer and closer to the forefront of medical conversations internationally, the need for VSM has increased sharply. There is currently an unprecedented global demand for digital health innovation, especially for technologies that keep people healthy and out of hospitals. In that sense, a self-contained monitoring system that can send information directly to doctors, and the cloud, also contributes to public health and accessibility in an indirect way.

Progress in the world of VSM is important for diabetic patients and healthcare professionals alike. With broader access to VSM technology, diabetics can realize a level of precision and proactive data collection that finger-stick methods simply cannot match. What if, instead, your grandfather had the tools he needed to prevent complications like vessel damage, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease with proactive information about his diabetes? Or if a seven-year-old girl could have her health monitored by a cool little computer on her arm, instead of scary needles? We believe in cases like these and many more. People might live happier, healthier lives as a result. The increase in data empowers patients to proactively manage their own health, which eases the burden on healthcare systems through fewer admissions and less need for acute treatment.

Ultimately, ADI’s improvement of CGM technology was fueled by the same motivation that drives all our pursuits: creating breakthroughs that make life better. As one of our contacts at Meiqi stated, “Their collaboration, system-level understanding and domain expertise really stood out. They proved to be far more than a component company.”