So I haven’t really talked about my Continuous Glucose Monitoring “stuff” for quite some time. Heck, I haven’t talked about anything for quite some time. Stress and quarantine will do that to a guy. But I recently made a deal on Instagram about moving from Dexcom to Eversense and wanted to follow up on that here on the blog.
If you’re not familiar, Dexcom is a CGM system that relays information from a sensor that inserts into your stomach (current the only approved place in the US) to your phone to keep you updated as to what your blood sugar is every 5 minutes. Eversense is a newer technology where the sensor is actually embedded in your arm through a minor cut and then you have a removable transmitter that sticks to your arm above the sensor. Eversense is the bleeding edge, literally.
As of a few days ago, I made the decision to go back to Dexcom as they are now covered under my pharmacy formulary and cost is less of an issue. That decision came after essentially using a bridge program or trial of Eversense for $100 for 3 months. The idea was that they would work with my insurance to get Eversense covered while I used the product. Well that isn’t happening and I will talk about it in my pros and cons of Eversense right now.
1. The product is inserted every 3 months and the transmitter is completely removable for those times you really just don’t want to deal with it or showering.
2. It’s cost effective. I remember seeing the numbers for purchasing without insurance and it was cheaper than using DME coverage for Dexcom by a little.
3. It’s very accurate. 2 calibrations a day keep it pretty close to a finger stick as far as accuracy.
4. It’s the next big thing…at least maybe. And that hold some gravitas with a tech guy like myself.
1. It’s the NEXT big thing. This means it’s not necessarily ready for prime time. The app is trash. It’s ugly and doesn’t even offer an Apple Watch complication. So to look at my blood sugar, I had to find the app in my floaty app cloud thingie and read it there. I could just use my phone.
2. CONSTANT bluetooth drops. Not to get too deep in the weeds here, but normally an application like this would run as a service in the background of your phone and continually update/stay connected even when the app is closed. Because it doesn’t do this, the app loses the transmitter multiple times per day, sometimes needing a complete restart of the phone to reconnect. This is basic stuff that should just work.
3. No Nightscount integration. Nightscout is an open source method of storing and sharing your CGM data. For example, I can connect any number of apps on any number of platforms to get to my blood sugar numbers by utilizing 1 website (https://ernpacnightscout.herokuapp.com). And it’s free. Everyone else has a method for connecting to Nightscout whether it’s approved or not by the companies. Eversense does not. This type of integration would eliminate much of number 1 above, as I could use another app to monitor everything.
4. Sharing of data is only on iPhone. Most platforms offer a share app where family and friends can install the app and follow your blood sugars. Eversense only offers this on iPhone. No Android support at all. Again, Nightscout integration would fix this, but nada.
5. Not sure I mentioned this…but it’s IN YOUR ARM. Now that’s both super cool, but also if your body is sensitive to electric stuff, your body will act weird. I had a muscle twitch for 2 months until either the battery faded enough or my body just got used to it being in there.
6. Lastly the real kick on the butt on the way out the door. If you continue getting the sensors inserted every 3 months, your removal is just covered. If you do not, $200 removal fee. So it will cost me twice as much to quit as it did to start. That’s the kind of thing that would keep people from not returning once the product is updated.
All that said, I think Eversense is on the right path. Unfortunately they had to lay off most of their US staff once Covid-19 hit. They are not accepting new patients and seem to be flailing a bit from what I can see. I think that insertable devices are a way of the future that will eventually lead to things like an Apple Watch that reads your blood sugar on your wrist or tattoos that can fully detect your numbers, but we are a long way from that at this point. I got a bit excitable about a new product and jumped in. I have missed quite a few things about Dexcom and plan to camp here for quite some time as we move towards the G7 product line.