Last week, David forwarded the bloggers here at Diabetes Daily a press release from Ford about some “new” technologies that are working on for in-car health. There was a “not-so”live chat last Thursday where we had the opportunity to ask questions and find out more information about these services. I say not so live because there was a few minute delay between typing a comment and seeing it on the screen. You could tell that the “experts” had specific chat messages that they had written ahead of time and getting those out were more important than answering any questions. Not the way to truly engage in social media.
Related to diabetes, there are two technologies/services that they are promoting that I think BOTH miss the target for the diabetes community.
Taken from their site, the first service they advertise is related to glucose monitoring –
Glucose monitoring: Working with Medtronic, a leading manufacturer of glucose monitoring devices, Ford researchers have developed a prototype system that allows Ford SYNC to connect via Bluetooth to a Medtronic continuous glucose monitoring device and share glucose levels and trends through audio and a center stack display and provide secondary alerts if levels are too low.
Sounds good in theory, right? A few problems I have right off the bat. Would I pay more for a service in the car when I can just do this?
In fact, I asked that question during the chat.
Question: “Why is having a CGM integrated into my car better than putting it in the cup holder as I do now?”
Response: “V. Prasad: @Sara We’re not planning to build the CGM (personal mobile medical device, for others on the chat) into the car. Just like a cell phone, we’re researching the possibility of connecting it via Bluetooth, so a driver could still receive alerts/warnings/notifications from the device, without taking their eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel”
Second, I have trialed the Medtronic CGM system. Like many other people, it was not accurate for me. Why would I want to rely on getting information from a technology that is not accurate in the first place?
Third, from what I understand from far more intelligent bloggers (Scott
), this is not going to pass the FDA any time soon anyway.
specifically mentioned how long we have been seeing protoypes of remote devices and have yet to see one come to market. “As I understand it Medtronic is in regulatory limbo on remote devices that show the data on a CGM. In they have shown remote devices over the years, even a demo in a car.”
The response to that statement was less than helpful. “Unfortunately, Medtronic could not join us today, but I’ll pass along your question. Thanks!”
I am not holding my breath for this system to become a reality any time soon.
The second technology that they were promoting was a service by WellDoc.
Ford and WellDoc, a recognized leader in the emerging field of mHealth integrated services, have joined forces to integrate in-car accessibility to WellDoc’s comprehensive cloud-based personalized solutions for those with asthma and diabetes through SYNC Services. Using voice commands, SYNC users could access and update their WellDoc profile to receive real-time patient coaching, behavioral education and medication adherence support based on their historic and current disease information.
Again, sounds good right? Please watch this video of someone interacting with this service [be sure to watch the whole video].
Let’s say your blood glucose is actually low – is that a conversation you want to (or have time to) have? Let’s say your blood glucose is 400 – are you REALLY going to tell “your car” the truth? There is absolutely nothing that guarantees that the information is accurate, or that the driver has followed through on any of the information even in dangerous situations (e.g. hypoglycemia).
So then, what does this service actually do?
This quote is a bit long, but I think you will appreciate the “back-and-forth” of the information between the people interested in the system and the company representatives trying to promote it.
Guest Comment: “From the video of the WellDoc feature, it doesn’t seem like it really would turn it into “Actionable meaningful information.” Let’s face it, while driving I wouldn’t really need to be able to see my BG’s from the past month. And it’s not like we are going to test *while* driving. If it is simply to remind people to test before getting behind the wheel, then the Sync system could easily do that without a prescription service such as WellDoc. I see more benefit from having the Medtronic CGM relay it’s information to the screen because it could alert that driver that although they might have a BG of say 110 (in acceptable range) they might have a double arrow down and are plummeting. Same goes for a parent of a child with diabetes. It might be helpful on say a long distance trip to be able to see what a child’s glucose monitor is currently saying, but I’m not going to be looking up my child’s health records.”
Company Response: “Anand Iyer From WellDoc:@Guest BG is just one variable. What about their meds or doctors appointments or queries in their learning libraries or mood/symptom trackers? This is a multivariate platform. BG is one thing – for some drivers or diabetes patients you don’t need to capture it – it’s 1 out of a million features. For example, when I’m driving and feel hungry and want to eat something, I want to eat something that won’t spike my glucose. These are helpful tips that we can facilitate through the SYNC platform to help ensure compliance.”
Leighann of D-Mom Blog (http://www.d-mom.com/) Comment: “Anand- But those aren’t things
that you should necessarily be accessing while driving. If you are hungry and want a snack that isn’t going to spike your BG, why would you possibly want to ask your car for a recommendation? I don’t think the car is the appropriate place to “ensure compliance.” Being able to see a CGM graph is VERY useful. Getting snack ideas while driving? Not so much.”
By the way, Ford does have more positive contributionsin the world of diabetes.
So what do you think? As a consumer of diabetes-related products, are you interested in either of these services? Would you be more likely to choose Ford over other car manufacturers to have access to these technologies?
If you would like to share your thoughts with Ford, Craig Daitch is the United States Social Media Manager For Ford Motor Company. Click on his name to access his Twitter account.