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CheckMate Essay (diabetes)

CheckMate Essay (diabetes)

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Published by Amy Tenderich

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Published by: Amy Tenderich on May 03, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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April 3, 2010September 11th is a day that no one will ever forget. For me, it holds a differentmeaning – it is the day I was diagnosed with Type I Juvenile Diabetes. Living withdiabetes is not fun. It requires patients to show self-control and make a commitment tolead a healthy lifestyle while taking the steps necessary to manage your condition. Thelong term effect of good control of one’s blood sugar is healthier kidneys, eyes, nervoussystem, and less incidence of stroke. Many times, patients do not check their bloodsugar as often as they should due to the pain involved or the inconvenience and cost of the supplies needed.As a Type I Diabetic, I live with this everyday. I am a freshman Biology/Pre-Optometrymajor at the University of Missouri – Columbia and have had diabetes since age 15 – notlong compared to other kids, but long enough to know what would help me manage mycondition better. Don’t get me wrong - I am blessed in that there is a way to managethis condition – there are many conditions that are much, much worse and thetreatment for those conditions is a very grueling process.
 To me, the biggest “pain”, literally, is the constant finger-pricking to test my blood. Myidea is to remove the pain and still manage the disease process. With this system, theneed for test strips and lancets is removed. The
is the one piece of hardware that is used to check your blood sugar.Imagine checking and reading your blood sugar with a laser or a method that reads itfrom the inside out – similar to how a pulse oximeter measures the oxygen in yourblood. We even have ways to “read” your fingerprint and “read” your pupils for identityand security purposes – in a way, this is simply “reading” your blood sugar and notrequiring a sample.I have thought about this ever since my Mom sent me the link to the Diabetesmine™Design Challenge site. I currently use an insulin pump and it has changed my life forthe better. I have better control over my blood sugar and experience fewer highs andlows than I did with multiple daily injections. I use a remote device, similar to atelevision remote, to enter my carbohydrates and administer insulin. I also use it toinsert the test strips and test my blood sugar, after pricking my finger with a standardlancet device. The ease and convenience of using the remote is awesome. So, I tookthe idea of the remote one step further.If my idea was accepted, the remote would be replaced with the
 Therewould be one hand-held piece of equipment to enter your carbohydrates, bolus beforemeals and lay your finger upon to read your blood sugar. No more strips to drop; nomore worrying about not getting enough blood on the strip and then having to re-stickyour finger – AND, no more pain! Since you would not be using lancets, strips or alcoholwipes, that means less expense in buying those items. My supplies alone run anaverage of $150 a month or $1,800 a year, if you test 4 - 6 times per day. That is quitea savings if you add up the years for my average lifespan (65 years at $1,800 per yearequals $117,000)!And speaking of cost – we know that the pharmaceutical companies will probably neverapprove a generic form of insulin. The cost of insulin is very expensive and anotherreason many people either don’t get the insulin they need or they ration their supply tolast longer. Some people test less often per day so that they can get by with fewer
strips; however, this is not healthy. With more and more consumerism plans beingoffered by employer groups, members are faced with higher deductibles and higher outof pocket costs. Not to mention health care reform and the fact that we do not knowwhat the future of health care will be.Anything that we can do to help control costs is a win/win for everyone. By not havingto buy test strips would save a huge amount in pharmacy costs each month – both forthe patient and for the insurance companies and the employer groups that buy theinsurance plans. Additionally, by not having to buy lancets and alcohol wipes, youwould save on the cost of those supplies, as these are not always covered by insuranceplans and often are paid out of the patient’s pocket or reimbursed through a FlexibleSpending Account. Now with President Obama’s healthcare reform, over-the-countermedications will no longer be eligible for reimbursement, so again, more cost for thepatient to bear.Now that I have told you about my idea, I would like to show you a mock-up prototypeof the
(see exhibit A). It would be constructed of a soft, rubber-encasedplastic shell that would be comfortable to handle. The laser pad would be a differenttexture to easily feel the difference in the surface of the remote and the laser pad. Ialso would like to have the
available in a version that features Braille sothat diabetics that are also blind could easily use the
. Skins could beavailable that would allow patients to customize their
to their liking. The
has all the features you need to calculate your insulin-to-carbohydrateratio, plus the feature of testing your blood without the sample and the pain.In closing, I want to say thank you for giving diabetes patients the chance to be heard.It is our condition to manage and if there are better ways to manage and have controlover
having control over us, then we owe it to ourselves to get those ideasout there.Respectfully submitted,

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