Dexcom files for patent for smartphone-connected continuous glucose monitoring

By Jonah Comstock
08:50 am

DexCom PatentSan Diego-based Dexcom, a maker of continuous glucose monitors, has filed for a patent for a system that would integrate a smartphone with a Dexcom device, detailing some of the features such a device might have.

"The present embodiments harness a wide variety of capabilities of modern smartphones, and combine these capabilities with information from a continuous glucose monitor to provide diabetics and related people with more information than the continuous glucose monitor can provide by itself," the patent application reads. "The increased information provides the diabetic with an increased likelihood of good diabetes management for better health."

The patent is focused particularly on a "continuous analyte monitor", and describes how continuous monitoring could connect with a phone's built-in activity monitor, GPS, scheduling systems, contacts, camera, and voice activation.

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Much of the functionality described in the patent has to do with collecting continuous blood sugar data and other data -- like activity and location -- simultaneously, so the user can retrospectively see what sorts of life events tend to lead to hypo- and hyperglycemic events. But the patent also suggests that the device might be able to take action in cases of low blood sugar.

The system could contact a doctor, caretaker, or parent by text or email in the event of a blood sugar drop. It could also trigger a push notification to the patient, either telling them to eat a meal, or just setting off a specialized alarm (an illustration in the patent shows a patient setting their low blood sugar alarm to "Low" by Flo Rida.) The system could also tie into the phone's GPS and respond to low blood sugar by recommending nearby restaurants.

The patent also discusses how continuous glucose monitoring could be combined with food logging using the phone's built-in camera. Users could take photos of their food, and the phone could tell them whether they should eat it, recommend that they eat only a portion, or calculate and display the change in blood sugar that food would create.

Another feature outlined is a Siri-like functionality. In one example, a parent could ask their smartphone "What is Johnny's glucose?" and the phone would return the information.

If Dexcom's hoped-for patent does lead to an actual product in the future (which is not always a foregone conclusion) it would be the company's first foray into smartphone connectivity. Its existing continuous glucose monitors interact only with dedicated devices.

Update: Although Dexcom doesn't have any smartphone connected device, DiabetesMine reported back in May on the Dexcom Share, a cradle that would transmit data via Bluetooth from a user's Dexcom G4 CGM to up to five smartphones of friends and family. The device is still pending FDA clearance.

Just last month, Allied Market Research projected that the continuous glucose monitor market would hit $568.5 million by 2020. The market in 2012 was just $194.8 million.

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