LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pointless data points

Press any button to wake up the Snap, then hit the left button to get to the graph.

The graph?

Oh, yes. The Snap stores and displays a plethora of operational data for you on a graph. At a glance you have your last twelve hours of smart boli, manual boli, meal records and blood sugar readings. But don’t get too excited

This is the stupidest idea of all time.

The display area of the Snap screen is only 3/8ths of an inch tall by 1 and 3/4 inches wide. The Y axis (up and down) displays blood sugar readings from zero to 500, making it only vaguely possible to determine the altitude of  an “+” that marks a fingerstick. The X axis (left to right) holds 12 hours of data. Three almost invisible “tick marks” along the bottom divide the screen into four 3-hour time segments. There isn’t any time readout. It’s a frozen picture. You can’t scroll backwards in time to look at older data, say, last night’s dinner if you were sleeping off a bender and were trying to sort out the night’s blood sugar adventures the morning after

Not that that ever happened to me.

I guess the idea is to give the Snapper a crude tool to study the relationship between meals, boli, and blood sugar. I guess if you didn’t have CGM, and if you did enter every frickin’ blood sugar in the pump, it might have some limited value. For instance, if you went low (and why would you take the time to enter that information into a pump that can do nothing to help you?), and then later—within 12 hours—went and looked at the graph, there’s a remote possibility that it could help you sort out what happened.

That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when any type of data can be displayed in a graphical format, but a graph requires some landscape to display properly, and the Snap screen is woefully small. I think even the folks at Asante know this graph is an embarrassment. They give it only one page in their 167-page user guide. I wanted to give you a quote from that page, maybe something the marketing department slipped in to try to convince us that this is actually a useful feature, but the copy on this one page is as dry as the Dust Bowl. I guess the best advice is the very last line: “Press EXIT from the graph screen to return to the startup screen.”

I predict that’s what you’ll do the one and only time you visit the graph.

I think the Snap graph is a waste of everyone’s time, unless the management is laying the ground work for a place to eventually display trace data from an integrated CGM, in which case the two-button click to get there ain’t bad. But as designed, this graph would make a piss-poor CGM display screen, indeed. With the space between 100 mg/dL and 200 mg/dL on this graph being 3/32ths of an inch, most blood sugar traces will look like flat lines. For comparison, the space between 100 and 200 on the Dex G4 receiver is hair over a quarter inch, more than two-and-a-half time times larger.

On a Snap, with the total vertical space so small, even trend information would be hard to interpret. Does this mean it’s hopeless for a happy marriage between CGM and Snap? No, not really. But like any marriage, the happy couple will either need to remodel their house, or move to a new one. Options might include having the CGM readout only display 50-300, on the theory that outside those ranges (on either end) the shit has hit the fan and “normal” diabetes management is out the window anyway. Or the controller could be re-designed somehow to accommodate a larger screen. Or (((shudder))) they could put in a touch screen. I hope they don’t, as I prefer real buttons. Touch screens require extra steps to unlock them, and suck down more power.

Keep it simple Snap, that’s your strength. We need real options, not a t:slim me-too pump.

Tomorrow: The other side of the graph


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