The Apple Watch May Have Its First Medical App—A Glucose Monitor For Diabetics

We already knew that the Apple Watch, due to finally launch in April, will feature fitness applications. Now it may have its first health-related app as well.

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that a new Apple Watch app is on the way from DexCom, a California company that provides diabetics with devices for continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM. According to the WSJ, the app will display real-time glucose readings in a “simple graph that is just a glance at the wrist away.”

Although Apple hasn’t yet officially approved any third-party apps for its smartwatch, the WSJ reports that DexCom’s app will launch when the Apple Watch itself does. Thanks to recent regulatory changes, the app doesn’t require advance FDA approval, although DexCom’s software developers still have to follow the agency’s regulations with regard to medical devices.

The WSJ story, however, leaves several important questions unanswered. It’s not clear, for instance, exactly how the watch will pull in glucose data, whether it will have to pair with an iPhone app, or where it will store that data.

Simplify, Simplify—Or Not

DexCom’s G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitoring system

Perhaps the biggest question is how—and by how much—such an app can actually simplify life for diabetics. Particularly, that is, for the “type 1” diabetics this app is aimed at, who must routinely monitor their glucose levels in order to adjust their insulin dosage throughout the day.

The DexCom CGM system consists of a small sensor with a fine needle and an associated handheld monitor (see photo above). Diabetics attach the sensor to their body, where it takes glucose readings under the skin and sends data to the monitor.

For technical reasons, type 1 diabetics using CGM systems still have to carry conventional glucose monitors, which take readings from a small drop of blood. Many also wear insulin pumps—small devices that automatically deliver medication without the need for syringes.

In other words, type 1 diabetics are already festooned with devices. The new app looks likely to add more—and without lightening the load of existing gadgets, either.

On Monday, the site 9to5Mac published a purported DexCom image that shows glucose data simultaneously appearing on an iPhone and an Apple Watch. Similarly, late last month DexCom announced FDA approval of a CGM system that wirelessly transmits data from the CGM monitor to other mobile devices—specifically — For more information read the original article here.      

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