For nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes, using a glucose meter to check their blood sugar levels – often several times a day – is as routine as brushing their teeth or taking a shower. Monitoring and tracking these levels and compiling the patient’s history are critical to the proper control of diabetes, but the glucose tests are intrusive and cumbersome. Up until now there has been no direct connection with physicians or other health-care professionals.
InteractiveMD, a “telehealth” company based in Boca Raton, Fla., wants to take this medical technology to the next level by developing a “smart” glucose monitor that can be plugged into virtually any mobile communication device to acquire, display, and transmit blood glucose levels.
A Lawrence Tech student team led by Umasankar Kandaswamy, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working with InteractiveMD to develop a working prototype. Launched in early February, the project’s first phase is slated for completion by early April.
“The future of diagnostic medicine hugely depends on reliable and simple devices that are both interoperable and interactive,” Kandaswamy said. “What we are trying to achieve is a device that provides maximum comfort and ease of use.”
The glucose meter is a solar-powered device, which means the user never has to worry about replacing its battery. Furthermore, because it uses an audio port to communicate with the smart phone, the user doesn’t need any special cord or base station to connect to a smart phone or tablet.
“One of the main missions of our various companies is to bring health-care access to the point where most people can get connected using a mobile device, such as an iPod, iPad, or any type of smart phone,” said Jesse Kessler, CEO of InteractiveM (www.interactivemd.com).
“The goal is to have a mobile diabetes application that can not only take tests throughout the day intermittently but can also store that data on a website to give the users and their physicians access to it,” he said. “This is taking it to a new level.”
The Lawrence Tech prototype is unique in that the monitor is small and easy to use, yet extraordinarily rich in features due to the marriage with a smart mobile device. Using the smart phone app, consumers will be able to choose options to track their activity, see how their day-to-day activity impacts their blood glucose level, and share the data with a medical professional. Consumers can also keep a log of their daily meals, workouts, and other activities.
“These details become very useful for getting the proper care from physicians,” Kandaswamy said. “Traditional diagnostic devices will give the user just one piece of information, but when we tie the diagnostic technology to the user’s smart phone, we get the whole enchilada.”