Data Management Software for Diabetics

Hello dearest Community!

I am a student at the Technical University of Vienna (Austria) and have a friend, who suffers from diabetes. We are about to write our bachelor thesis and since he has told me that the software, which comes along with glucose measuring devices is mostly not what he needs, hard to understand and not at all intuitive, we decided to develop our own tool in order to help other people that feel the same way. If the project is completed successfully and the community shows us that there really is a need of a better new tool, we are going to work on it on and on.

To give you a short overview of the system, I will only say, that it is going to have 3 variants, one for patients, one for doctors and one for the researchers community. It is going to be build as a plugin-framework, so basically all needed functionality can be added or removed on demand. What is more, it will be a open-source software, so it will be delivered for free and it would be possible to alter it so that it can satisfy your own needs.
Therefore, I would like you to do some brief comments on the topic. Any comment, idea (what should the tool do), criticism or example of another (good or not so good) tool will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your time and help.
See/Hear you soon!
Peter is a fantastic bit of mac software for logging, but I’d really like an iPhone or iPod Touch app that plugs into it and syncs data between the two…

Hi Peter! There are some programs available. I don’t understand all the computer jargon so perhaps you want to develop something more… what is really missing is GOOD programs that can download data from our blood sugar meters or insulin pumps. It takes a lot of time to enter all your blood sugar data by hand!!

For info about programs out there, see these links:
Log for Life

Also here is a link that lists more.

have you thought about having it link to gmail so docs can access the link to result it will simplify the process i cut and pasted to gmail and had the doc click the link

This sounds great Peter! I think the biggest development would be to have diabetes software that can communicate with the devices (but this is hard because the companies don’t want to share. I will upload some .csv files later that my pump can produce, I’m not sure if you could somehow get the data from there. Also, I have a few software programs from different meters. I could mail you these CDs if it would help.

Be sure to calculate standard deviation of blood sugars, not just averages!

It seems like there is always some tech guru out there who approaches the problem of data management for diabetics as just another challenge. From what I’ve been seeing around TuDiabetes and elsewhere on the web, the problem is getting meter companies to give you access to their technology so that people don’t have to waste their time reverse-engineering everything in order to get full functionality out of the software/device/etc. Best of luck to you - if you can do as well or better than what the open-source community has been able to provide, I’m sure your degree-granting institution will send you on your way with that very necessary credential.
As far as a template, here’s one I use in conjunction with my meter(s):

Hi Peter,

While I would certainly echo the comments from others, I will share with you a few elements I have encountered with various software programs. First, there is a presumption that doctors will be actively involved and will want to customize functionality. After 33 years of living with type 1 diabetes, and living in Finland, Sweden and in the U.S., Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and California, I have never once had a what I consider to be a techno-savvy doctor or diabetes educator. Not that they weren’t aware of what could be done with programs and data, but most saw so many patients that few really had time to do the sort of customization you might envision. Most patients need to schedule appointments a minimum of 90 days in advance and as ever more patients with type 2 are diagnosed, the backlog of patients grows longer by the day. Therefore the ability to print out readings in a legible format is more important than various bells and whistles.

The other element I have witnessed is that some efforts have bombed because they were simply too cumbersome and time consuming to use, requiring many keys to be pressed to “cod e” a reading as pre or post-meal, or something else. Truthfully, for most people, we have busy lives and a test should take 5 seconds to complete, not 10 minutes. Another pet peeve of mine is the presumption that everyone with diabetes needs or wants to know the same thing.

For me as someone with type 1, there really is no mystery as to how certain foods impact my blood glucose levels – the question is whether my insulin will properly cover it and do so within a predictable timeframe, so extensive tools meant to analyze food categories and post-prandial numbers is really a waste of my time and effort and I find tools like that more irritating than helpful.

The biggest issue I have encountered is a complete lack of integration and compatibility of the data for use with other applications; such as having the ability to export to Microsoft Excel/Open Office Calc and/or Google Docs Spreadsheets, comma-delimited or other standardized, open formats is vastly superior to extensive proprietary coding. Anything I could want or need can be added as a column to a spreadsheet and then incorporated into graphs, etc. in a spreadsheet, but not if the data is formatted in some strange code which is inaccessible to other programs. My philosophy has always been the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Even though I have Intel Macs and can boot into Windows for the data uploads and such to Minimed (Pump and CGMS) I would like it if folks would write one for the Mac. I see only a couple at $60.00 to download METER data, but nothing for the PUMP CGMS as well.

I am lucky to have my Intels, but not everyone is as fortunate. So far, I have heard the One Touch PING or something is to be Mac compatible, but I can’t jump off and get another Pump (Animas) for that alone. Please consider the Mac platform as well.


It should be able to work. Printers, iPhones, iPods, Digital cameras and such work… with USB communication to their particular program. I’m sure if HealthXchange and DiabetesX can get the meter to send to the computer, it is a matter of a communication with say, the CareLink USB type of device to the App.

Even though Soleil Korea’s pump never took off really here in the states, they were even looking at Bluetooth communication, which can be done on Macs as well.

It is indeed do-able. Problem lies still in the smaller market share of Mac users and the reluctance of the Pumpmaker’s hired software developers to develop for the Mac.

I equate this to what it used to be for people with diabetes. No one carried what is now known to be ‘diet’ soda or artificial sweeteners regularly until …mmmmm… maybe the late sixties. :slight_smile: Same with Mac users.

I don’t think it is so much a ‘lack of interest’ as more possibly a ‘lack of experience’. Some older folks are almost afraid of the computer. All they might see it as is something to play Solitaire or Bridge on, read their emails from AOL on, maybe surf the net and store pics of the kids/grandkids on. They wouldn’t even know in some cases, how the computer and data management software can actually help them.

IMO, Insulin dependents on pumps are more likely to want this intensive application. All the juggling we do every day instead of the 70+ year old who is told to test “A couple of times a Week” and “watch those sweets”. As even the more mature populace becomes more active in their own care, the interest will indeed be there… As it said in the Movie “Field Of Dreams”: ‘If you build it, they will come’.

I am a techie at heart so the more customization and bells and whistles that are included, the better. here is what I would love to see:

The data sources include:
Manual Entry
Insulin Pumps
Blood Glucose meters
other websites or log apps through an import / export via CSV and other proprietary formats.

Data transmission methods:
serial connection (for those with older or proprietary hardware
USB / Firwire

The data that should be transferred should include but not be limited to:
BG reading
carb intake
Exercise data (type, duration, distance, repitions, frequency etc)
timestamp for each data entry
bolus and basal deliveries (amount delivered)
Notes withing test meters
error messages from pump and meters due to inadequate blood on test strip to no deliver of insulin and others
pump interruptions due to suspends on the pump

Other items of interest in a software package:
robust food database with customization
diabetic management tools such as insulin to carb calculators.
customizable interface-----
This one is one of particular interest to me. If it was designed on a widget based platform so that you could have a page/list of features and tools that could be a drag n drop onto a homepage. this homepage could then be organized visually to the users liking. furthermore, this information could be published to a website or blog either as a snapshot or dynamic page that would update as the software is update. This could be done via a publish option of some type.

Something like this would be my ideal tool. I am sure there are additional items that I am missing but this is what I came up with off the top of my head. If I had the expertise in programming, I would have already done this myself. I am a techie and a web and graphic designer so both form and function are very important to me.

I have seen far too many log books that just look like a standard excel spreadsheet with a few buttons here and there. I would love someone to design a technically advanced, easy to use and very visually appealing app.

Good luck in your efforts. Feel free to hit me up if you have any additional questions.

I’m sure you’ve already done your research on what’s already availible but here is a link to a page on David Mendosa’s blog that has links to many-many-many sites. Good luck…and don’t forget the Mac :slight_smile:

Hi Peter,

in my opinion a single software can not handle all the needs, wishes and expectations of all diabetics. Therefore it is good to have different offerings to choose the one that fits to your needs. In this view I very much appreciate that you and your friend are working on another and maybe unique solution.

Our project is a different offering for those who like it. The forum discussion about our solution can be found here.

Best regards,

I agree with Holger that no application is going to be appropriate for everyone. I am not a technophobe, but I do appreciate simplicity which can be exported to spreadsheet applications, something few applications seem to permit today. I also agree with Chris in that I think accepting data from various sources is valuable. I really have no need or desire for mobile web service, its simply too costly and I’m on a PC all day and have access to the internet there, so I really don’t want to do so from a mobile phone). But I DO use SMS/text messaging and would find that quite valuable as an input method and would agree that having the ability to accept a variety of inputs would be useful, including both USB and serial port entries would be particularly valuable.

As for the others Chris mentions, I prefer a more minimalist approach, but do see having the following data inputs as useful:

  • BG reading
  • carb intake
  • Perhaps exercise data (type, duration, but the others such as distance, repetitions, frequency, etc., again, this is hardly minimalist). But a time stamp for each data entry, and could be applied for the time the message is sent.
  • bolus (NOT basal deliveries, as I could enter my basal rates in the web application and therefore it seems unnecessarily redundant and couldn’t easily be entered via SMS)

My feelings are that too many applications over-engineer basics which can easily be handled by a spreadsheet, and my own doctor and nurse educators would never dream of going over such a thing, but they do want a log with relevant notes.

I would like to see something that can track my readings by month. That way I can easily follow and see how my period is affecting things. I can do that at the moment, but I have to sit and print out each month manually and then compare them. I’d like to be able to do it at the touch of a button.

It would be cool if you could integrate it with something like Twitter/Gtalk/SMS/email. At the moment, I load up my readings once a month or so and at that stage I can’t remember what was happening when I was spiking or whatever (and the meter only allows for limited comments). I’d like to be able to send a Twitter type comment message to a central site, which would then sync the comments with the readings when I download them according to the date and time.

It would also be nifty if you could get the program to email or SMS you reminders. I have Google calendar set up to do this for me at the moment, but it would rock to have it all in one place. For example, you could set a reminder to make up at 2am to check your BG on a couple of nights a month, or it could remind you that your period is coming up so you will need more meds/insulin.

If the program could look for patterns in your BG, that would be cool too. So for example if you always go high after Sunday lunches, it would notify you and you would know to monitor your Sunday lunches. It would be ultra cool to have a program do that for you instead of having to do it yourself.