One educator’s “lessons learned” on working with new technology and upgrades.
Advancements in technology have revolutionized the healthcare landscape over the past decade. It seems that every five years, a new version or upgrade emerges, equipping both clients and providers with tools that improve the ability to enhance diabetes management.
Traditionally, the A1C percentage has served as the target our clients aim for every three months. The introduction of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) introduced a new paradigm. My education now emphasizes the importance of increasing time spent in the range and preventing lows (hypoglycemic episodes). These devices have truly transformed the way we empower our clients, providing them with vital information available on receivers, phones, and even watches. They have the capability to seamlessly share data with healthcare professionals, facilitating adjustments between visits.
Here's where I must confess something (and I’m sure I’m not alone here). Upon receiving an updated device, I have been known to disregard the instruction manual, assuming that the changes would be minimal. I often rely on advice from peers or company representatives who highlight the key features. In my experience, I tend to blend my existing knowledge with the latest updates over time. I highly recommend you do NOT do the same.
The FreeStyle Libre 3 came out giving us the opportunity to only scan to start. Everyone was so excited and immediately asked for the newest model and began to upload the appropriate app. However, this excitement quickly turned to frustration when connecting clients proved to be more challenging than anticipated. What was happening? It was only after encountering these difficulties that I took the time to thoroughly review the instructions and realized the importance of checking phone compatibility—an aspect emphasized right at the beginning of the accompanying app.
Many, many individuals found themselves exasperated because they assumed that since they could successfully install the app, the device would automatically function with their phone. Hence, my primary recommendation to those inquiring about the Libre 3 is to diligently verify phone compatibility before proceeding.
The release of the Dexcom G7 was another exciting development, boasting a 30-minute warm-up time and streamlined, one-piece insertion process. Yet again, I neglected to read the directions. Previously, my only concern with the Dexcom G6 was ensuring that Bluetooth was enabled. With the G7, I now need to navigate additional settings, such as Do Not Disturb, Screen Time, and Low Power Mode, to optimize performance.
Regrettably, we receive numerous calls from individuals requesting adhesive patches for the Dexcom 7. The Dexcom directions are in the sensor box and are folded to about 2"x2" and over a half inch thick with a paper wrap around the whole packet (it fits in the box). Right under the paper wrap is the overlay.
The point is if you do not open the directions, you often miss that the overlay is in the same box! Who knows what else you could be missing?
So yes, these devices are absolutely life changing. However, we must never lose sight of our responsibility for our own health and others. This includes thoroughly acquainting ourselves with the necessary information to derive maximum benefit from our CGMs and all our tech. Like everything else, we’ll only get out of it what we put into it.
This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit diabeteseducator.org.
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