Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) mobile communications: an interview with Jorge Valdes

insights from industryJorge Valdes Chief Technical Officer, Dexcom

What are the main reasons why a person with diabetes may wish to share their glucose information with others?

Type 1 diabetes is a complex condition to manage. It requires continuous, around the clock monitoring of blood glucose levels, which change repeatedly throughout the day and night.

The task of managing diabetes is daunting so the ability to share the glucose information with others can help patients gain confidence against dangerous low and high glucose excursions.

Knowing that a friend or loved one can view and be alerted in the case of dangerous glucose events brings great piece of mind to patients with diabetes.

For example, with recent FDA approved Dexcom SHARE, parents of children with diabetes can now remotely monitor their child’s glucose levels during times while the child is distracted such as during sleep, play or school.

The parent can alert the child or someone in the vicinity if they observe any issues so that the appropriate action can be taken.

Parents have told us that the SHARE system gives them the confidence to allow their young child to attend a sleepover at a friend’s house for the very first time.

With the approval of the Dexcom SHARE to be used with the Dexcom G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitor (CGM), parents can now have peace of mind as they can monitor their children’s diabetes in real-time from afar.

This is also true for adults, and their loved ones with type 1 diabetes, to now be able to view glucose levels while apart during business trips or other travel.

Dexcom SHARE helps those with type 1 diabetes to know that others are watching out for them and supporting them in their disease management.

How has technology made this possible?

With the Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM, the SHARE accessory is what helps to make it possible for parents and caregivers to watch over children and other loved ones with type 1 diabetes when they are apart.

The Dexcom SHARE technology is a great example of what is possible through innovation for healthcare, and it uses Bluetooth technology, an iPhone, and cloud storage to make it possible.

Please can you describe Dexcom SHARE?

Dexcom SHARE is a CGM remote monitoring system for people with diabetes and their loved ones. It uses a secure wireless connection to transmit glucose levels of a person with diabetes from their iPhone to the smartphones of up to five designated recipients, or “followers.”

These followers can remotely monitor a patient’s glucose information and receive alert notifications from almost anywhere via their Apple® iPhone® or iPod® touch.

With Dexcom SHARE, parents and caregivers can monitor a child’s or loved one’s glucose data from a remote location, giving them peace of mind and reassurance when they are apart.

What were the main hurdles you faced when developing Dexcom SHARE?

With patients at the center of what Dexcom does, we spent a lot of time on security, confidentiality of the SHARE accessory and human factors for ease of use.

Overall the development process was fairly typical. SHARE is an FDA approved class III medical device.

We didn’t face any major hurdles that we couldn’t resolve—the product is what we envisioned from the start and addressing an unmet medical need that we are proud to provide.

How do you make sure that the glucose data is shared securely with remote viewers?

We’ve worked hard to make sure the data is secure. Dexcom SHARE uses the same type of security as online banks on our wireless connections. We use an encrypted Bluetooth link, an authentication process that prevents unauthorized users from connecting.

The Dexcom SHARE Cloud is designed to only accept data from a Dexcom Share app and allows data to be read only by authorized followers using the Dexcom Follow app.

All data are encrypted using secure HTTPS communication channels and the Cloud is authenticated with certificates. We use other data integrity and encryption systems as well.

What feedback have you received so far?

When we tested the product, people with type 1 diabetes and their family members said again and again, that this new technology is a game-changer.

Dexcom SHARE will revolutionize how people monitor their diabetes in real-time and share this information with those who need it to help make important treatment decisions.

The feedback we’ve received has been phenomenally positive. People who have tried the product immediately are already seeing and experiencing the benefits.

How does Dexcom SHARE compare to other products on the market?

CGM has been a significant advance in the diabetes marketplace. It helps people with diabetes and their families stay informed and make important decisions in the day-to-day management of their diabetes.

The ability to remotely monitor glucose levels with Dexcom SHARE, along with its companion product G4 PLATINUM, fills an important unmet need for people with diabetes and their loved ones.

What impact do you think Dexcom SHARE will have on the lives of people with diabetes and their families?

We believe Dexcom SHARE will have a tremendous impact on the lives of people with diabetes and their families. It enables them to be connected and informed. It gives them a new tool to dramatically improve how they communicate about and manage their diabetes.

Patients with diabetes and their families can receive highly accurate, real-time dynamic glucose readings throughout the day and night at the touch of a button. This gives a real sense of relief to them.

Do you think Dexcom SHARE will change the doctor-patient relationship in any way?

We think Dexcom SHARE has the ability to change the doctor-patient relationship in positive ways mainly by helping to improve the way doctors and patients communicate information about their diabetes.

A doctor, health care provider or diabetes educator can use Dexcom SHARE data trends to better assess how a patient is doing. Doctors can look at diabetes trends over time to make treatment decisions.

What are Dexcom’s plans for the future?

We continue to innovate on behalf of people with diabetes and their loved ones through new products and data enhancements.

On November 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved new software for the Dexcom G4 PLATINUM that features the same advanced algorithm as used in artificial pancreas research around the world.

This latest software enhancement will make the performance level comparable to episodic blood glucose finger sticks and is a significant step in the evolution of CGM becoming the standard-of-care over blood glucose meters for people with diabetes.

Our upcoming Gen 5 system will offer truly mobile functionality by allowing patients to monitor their blood sugar directly on their iPhones. Thus reducing the number of devices that people living with diabetes must carry with them and providing more discretion. Gen 5 will also offer the same Share functionality as recently launched.

Where can readers find more information?

The best place for information about the Dexcom is the product website: https://www.dexcom.com/home

About Jorge Valdes

Jorge Valdes was promoted to Chief Technical Officer in June 2010. In this role, Mr. Valdes is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of Dexcom's research and development functions, including clinical and regulatory, as well as information technology and manufacturing operations.

Mr. Valdes previously served the company since November 2005 as its Senior Vice President of Operations and as its Vice President of Engineering. From July 1999 to March 2005, Mr. Valdes served as Vice President of Engineering at Advanced Fibre Communications, or AFC, a provider of broadband access solutions.

Mr. Valdes also served as General Manager for the fiber to the premise (FTTP) business unit of AFC beginning in May 2004.

From May 1985 until July 1999, Mr. Valdes held positions at Racal-Datacom, Inc., a manufacturer of data communication products, in engineering management, product development and product management. Mr. Valdes received his BS and an MBA from the University of Miami, Florida.

April Cashin-Garbutt

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April Cashin-Garbutt

April graduated with a first-class honours degree in Natural Sciences from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. During her time as Editor-in-Chief, News-Medical (2012-2017), she kickstarted the content production process and helped to grow the website readership to over 60 million visitors per year. Through interviewing global thought leaders in medicine and life sciences, including Nobel laureates, April developed a passion for neuroscience and now works at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, located within UCL.

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