As the diabetes market celebrates the 100th anniversary of insulin therapy, manufacturers are optimistic about the growth of medical technology in this category. Specifically, the evolution of continuous glucometers has charted a course for the industry to follow, they say.
Elaine Anderson, Eversense CGM business unit manager at Ascensia Diabetes Care, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, calls CGM the “first step of change” in diabetes treatment since the “transformative discovery” of insulin. one century ago.
“Over the past decade, diabetes technology has blossomed – CGMs have become mainstream, insulin pumps and pen therapy have become smart, and diabetes management has gone digital,” she said. “Today, people with diabetes have more choice than ever to select the tools and treatments that best suit their individual needs, and that will only get better in the years to come.”
The American Diabetes Association now recommends that all people with diabetes have access to CGMs, says Jim Malone, MD, chief medical officer of Bigfoot Biomedical, based in Milpitas, Calif., “because it has proven so helpful to provide patients with a snapshot of their pattern glucose levels on a continuous versus periodic basis from fingers, which only give you certain time points, not the full picture.
“This blood sugar model can also show how sleep, exercise, and diet can impact blood sugar,” he said.
While CGM has become the standard of care for people taking insulin, “it has been confined primarily to people with type 1 diabetes due to insurance requirements,” says Malone.
However, that could change as recent Medicare changes allow more diabetic patients to access CGMs, said Jeff Bowman, HME vice president of sales for McKesson Medical-Surgical in Richmond, Va.
“We are seeing a shift in the market as patients and their physicians gain confidence and comfort with CGM technology,” he said. “And today, patients are looking for practical ways to manage their condition.”
When it comes to the therapy and treatment of diabetes, patients have two primary tools for monitoring their blood sugar: blood glucose meters and CGMs. Patient preferences, Anderson says, are based on how products can fit together to help them manage their disease.
“BGMs and CGMs offer slightly different offerings [functions] but are united in their goal to improve diabetes management by helping people track the impact of medications, diet, activity and lifestyle,” she said. “People with diabetes are looking for products that can help them manage their condition more seamlessly and efficiently. A big part of that is having access to a variety of products and, most importantly, being able to integrate those products with each other. There are many facets to managing diabetes, so it’s important that your blood glucose meter of choice works with your pump of choice. Companies are working towards this and it is leading to a more integrated network of diabetes management solutions.
According to Malone, “Patients are looking for simplicity, convenience and choice.”
“They want to be able to use different products from different manufacturers and use them together,” he said. “As a result, we are seeing more and more products integrated with each other.”
For example, Bigfoot Unity is fully integrated with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 2 iCGM sensor, which Malone calls “a trend for the future that gives patients more choice and lessens the technology burden when systems are integrated like this.” .
Another example is insulin compatibility, Malone says.
“Some technology devices only pair with specific insulins,” he said. “In contrast, Bigfoot has worked with all major insulin manufacturers and our Bigfoot Unity solution is compatible with major US brands of fast and long acting disposable insulin pens. This is important because we know that nearly one in three patients need to switch brands of insulin in any given year. »
HME providers committed to being a comprehensive source of diabetes care should prioritize communications with providers, clinicians and patients to build their market knowledge and strengthen their supply chain partnerships, manufacturers say.
“EMH suppliers who use McKesson Medical-Surgical’s distribution network to support their diabetes patients benefit from hundreds of thousands of products across many product categories, while also having the opportunity to scale their business, especially in times of COVID where it’s difficult from a staff perspective,” Bowman said. “We want to continue to build partnerships with HME suppliers and major manufacturers to deliver products directly to patients who need them to promote better health outcomes through our extensive distribution network.
Similarly, Ascensia promotes networking among all market players, says Anderson.
“It’s important to listen to people with diabetes and their healthcare professionals,” she said. “These are the people who know the condition best, use the tools and know what can be most helpful in diabetes management.”