I’ve been using the Dexcom SHARE for the last few days. And while I don’t want to defer back to a list of PROS and CONS like I did with the gluten mess the other day, it’s a better way to streamline a post, so I’m doing it and doing it and doing it well. Also, this is not a comparison between SHARE and Nightscout/CGM in the Cloud. That post is coming, but I need more time with both systems in order to do a proper comparison. This post is just summing up my initial thoughts about the SHARE dock and application.
[Disclosure, because it's necessary: I have a sponsorship relationship with Dexcom, and have for some time now. Everything I've written here comes colored with that bias, so please keep that in mind when reading through my opinions. Also remember that they are my opinions, so they may not line up with yours. But please be kind when telling me you disagree, and if you decide to throw any food at me, at least make sure it's something reasonable and soft. Like banana bread.]
I cloud my data for my safety, not my convenience. As I’ve written about before, being able to have a family member or friend keep watch on my CGM data while I’m sleeping scrubs away so much of my fear of low blood sugars on the overnight. While overnight lows might not be a concern for everyone, I’ve had several low blood sugars in the middle of the night that left me forever changed (and needing a hairdryer, at times). Knowing someone else can keep watch while I’m asleep makes going to sleep easier. (Sure, that sounds dramatic, but sometimes diabetes has some nasty truths to it.)
SHARE was easy to set up. Truly. I took it out of the box, plugged it into the wall, and after writing down the serial number on my Dexcom receiver, I plugged the receiver into the SHARE port. Downloading the application to my iPhone took a few seconds, and setting up my profile took about the same. All in all, I went from unbox-to-active in less than three minutes.
It was also easy for my husband to set up. He was able to download the “Follow” app in a matter of minutes and link up with my data. The alerts he can make use of while he’s keeping an eyeball on my data are customizable, making it easier for him to let me deal with my high blood sugars on my own while still remaining tuned in to any lows. (I do not want my husband micro-managing my 160+’s, and he doesn’t want to, either.)
I can giveth and taketh away permission to view my data. For the days when my husband is on the road, I’d like to give CGM access to my parents or another loved one, but I want to be able to revoke access upon Chris’s return. (No offense to my parents at all, but the data of diabetes can be overwhelming to view from a distance unless you’re used to it, and growing up in their home, CGMs didn’t exist. If my mom and dad kept watch on my blood sugars, real-time and all day long, their hair would fall out from the data overload and then they would potentially become data overlords. Nope.)
There aren’t many moving parts. For me, this system made more sense for me than the CGM in the Cloud set up because it required the dock only. The CGM in the Cloud set-up (because I am an iPhone user, not Android) required me to purchase an Android phone, the cables, and if I wanted to cloud outside of the wifi in my home or a hotel, I’d need a data plan. The Pebble watch is a choice, but one I made, so in total, the cost of setting up CGM in the Cloud and Dexcom SHARE were really similar.
The user(s) interface is easy and clean. Screenshots to prove what I’m talking about. (And you can customize alarms to more than just the Dexcom’s standard BEEP BEEP BEEP party. The only one I plan to avoid entirely is “Crying Baby” because I have no desire to attempt to breastfeed my SHARE.)
iOS only. Because I already use an iPhone, setting up was a plug-and-play situation. But if I was an Android user, the SHARE would piss me off because there’s no option for Android. I recognize this is an issue because the Dexcom software still doesn’t work on a Mac (though there are some good workarounds), and that frustration remains. Limiting SHARE to one operating system is a huge minus.
The docking port is big. And heavy. Because I leave it plugged in on my bedside table, the size and weight don’t bother me overall, but it is a clunky thing to travel with. It’s also pretty ugly when compared to the streamlined awesomeness of the Dexcom G4 receiver itself. I was surprised at how already-dated the dock looked once it was out the box. It’s 2014 technology in 80′s packaging.
When I said “there aren’t many moving parts,” I meant it. This thing is not moving. And portability is also a big nope. The docking station needs to be plugged in, so it’s super useful for home and super inconvenient if you aren’t hanging out all day near an outlet. In my situation, I am mostly concerned about overnights, but for people who want to cloud their data all day long, good luck and be prepared to travel around with a big fat battery pack.
It’s costly. The price is tricky because the SHARE dock is not covered by insurance. If you want to cloud your data, you need to get a bit spendy, which for many is yet another hurdle when diabetes is already so costly. I hate seeing yet another expensive thing added to our slate of management tools, and having SHARE outside the realm of reimbursement is a thorn in my side. (I’d rather spend my money on something other than diabetes crap.)
In discussing SHARE with some of my colleagues at diabetes conferences this past weekend, there seems to be this inclination to compare CGM in the Cloud with SHARE and to pit one against the other. Same sorts of discussions came up over the Medtronic versus Dexcom CGM.
A common question: “What’s the best CGM? And what’s the best cloud system?”
A reasonable answer: “The best diabetes CGM and accompanying cloud is the one you will use. Or the one that you can use.”
Circumstance plays a heavy-handed role in the diabetes devices we use. Which devices require prescriptions? Which devices will your doctor prescribe for you? Which device does your insurance cover? And if insurance covers it, does it cover it in full? If insurance doesn’t cover most or all of it, can you afford to pay the difference? Are you able to use the device easily? Does it integrate into the flow of your care? Which device feels comfortable on your skin/in your bag/in your home/in your office/in your life? Do you live in a country where it is even available? Or do you live in a place where insulin is the struggle, and CGMs don’t exist?
When it comes to comparing CGM data in the cloud options, I feel lucky as hell to have clouding data as an option. And as of the other day, I now have two options for sending my Dexcom data up for access. I’m looking forward to seeing more progress, more talking, and more collaboration between all parties.
I’ll do a second impressions post in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on SHARE and clouding. (Is clouding a verb? Can it be for the purposes of this post? Please and thank you.)