Dexcom and Mac Users?

Hi all. I'm looking at starting on a CGM soon--just had the initial orientation session about them at Joslin yesterday. I'm favoring the Dexcom but I was brought up a little short when I learned that their analytics software doesn't run on Macs because I'm a Mac user. They do offer the online "Portrait on the Web" analytics, which is Mac compatible, but I gather it's more limited in the kinds of reports you can generate. Are there any other Mac users who can share their thoughts about or experience with Dexcom?

Is it possible to partition your drive to run Windows-based software?

Yes, there are products like VMWare for running Windows on Mac. Kinda clunky but possible. I'd actually prefer to have this kind of thing in the Cloud, like Medtronic's Carelink, which makes it (relatively) platform independent. I gather Dexcom has an iPhone app too, though it's limited to more or less just echoing what you see on the receiver so parents can monitor their T1 kids. App-based analytics would really be great but the software for these things has to pass FDA approval, just like the other components, so it tends to lag way behind what current technology is already doing in other areas.

All I can tell you is that I use a Dex with a Medtronic. I am a Mac person. I do not want the Medtronic cgm because I think the Dex, based on hundreds of reports on this site and others over the years, is more consistently accurate than the alternatives. I use each sensor for 2 weeks and could use it longer but don't. I don't know how long the Medtronic sensor lasts in practice. I am not compulsive on data graphs so it seems to me you have to choose between some degree of less accuracy but access to all the graphs you want or a more accurate cgm and the hassle of borrowing a pc if you want the graphs.

I think there is an external online software that some Mac users use with Dex and I presume they will chime in. In fact, I would like to hear more about it.
Seeing CatLady's post, I choose not to partition my MacBook Pro because i don't want to have to buy Windows and whatever other software needed to use it.

I started on a Dex CGM six years ago. I'm a Mac user as well. I decided to buy a cheap netbook style (about $300) computer. I still use it today. It's dedicated to the Dexcom Studio software. I'm sure there are comparable cheap PC computers available today. It does need a USB port.

The other work around is to use the Diasend web-based program. Diasend allows uploading the Dex G4 CGM, many pumps except for Medtronic, and many different meters. It runs fine on a Mac. Since the last Diasend uploader upgrade, however, I can not upload my meter and pump with my Mac. Not sure what's up with that, whether it's my computer or a Diasend uploader glitch. I use my netbook to upload the meter and pump. all the data comes together OK and I can run the Diasend website on my Mac.

I looked at the Portrait on the Web software and was underwhelmed. It only has the Standard Day report (the one that looks like tangled yarn), one of my least favorite. In Studio, I like to view the glucose trend, daily stats, hourly stats, and success reports the most.

Most Dex users don't look at these reports. It's an underused resource. I find that retrospective analysis contributes a significant insight into my BG control tactics.

Agreed regarding not wanting to partition my (aging) MacBook. And your description of the tradeoff supports my own thoughts about it. The difference in accuracy against the Medtronic is huge. I did talk with a customer support rep at Dexcom yesterday about the online software. They have some screenshots and basic info here:

I'm thinking that this should suffice for my own purposes, and my Endo at Joslin certainly has the Dexcom desktop software for more elaborate analyses if necessary.

Thanks Terry--that's really helpful on all fronts. I hadn't heard of Diasend--checking that out right now. Also your remarks on "Portrait" vs the reports you actually find most useful, since I don't yet have any experience on that to go by. Very much appreciated!

Since getting my CGM and using Studio and Diasend, I've become a data nerd. My interest in diabetes data is not diabetes mainstream at all. I have some definite opinions about what's important.

I rank time in range (TIR) as the single best measure of blood glucose control. The doctors love A1c but I believe it's seriously flawed since it can hide significant time hypo. For much the same reason average BG is not a primary measure although I do consider it.

Here's my ranking of diabetes data in order of importance:

  1. Time in range (I define my range as 65-140 mg/dl, can be individualized. My goal => 80%.)
  2. Percent time hypo - I like to keep it to 5% or less
  3. Standard Deviation - A measure of glucose variability. I target <= 30.
  4. Average BG - I shoot for < 100 mg/dl, a new reach goal for me.
  5. A1c - I want an A1c < 5.7%, providing I meet all the above goals. Lowest to date is 5.9%.

The reason that I think TIR is superior to all the others in that it incorporates many of them. If you spend more than 80% time in range, it's likely that your time low is respectable. A good TIR also translates to reduced BG variability and a good BG average.

If you can meet your personal TIR, time hypo, glucose variability, and average BG goals, your A1c will follow and it will be an A1c that doesn't hide significant hypo time.

Prior to the latest Diasend upgrade that was my preferred software for Dexcom, pump, and meter. Since the upgrade I can’t download my pump anymore and according to Diasend it’s a bug they can’t fix until the next upgrade (for me anyway and the error I’m getting). I can still download my Dexcom and meter though but tend not to when all of my data currently isn’t integrated.

This is the first time I’ve had trouble with Diasend though. I really like the company, customer support has been great.

I too am underwhelmed with Portrait on the Web.

Diana - Thanks for that info on the Diasend uploader flaw. I wonder if I could backtrack to the old uploader version. Perhaps I should call Diasend and ask them. As I said upthread, I can still upload my meter and pump using my old netbook PC, even with the new uploader software.

Glad to see this discussion--I am thinking both about a new computer (and going Mac) as well as a CGM.

For me the uploader worked but the pump data is being rejected by Diasend so it’s a different error, it’s possible the upgrade is coincidental. Hard to say. Irregardless, it never hurts to report problems.

It is true that they don't have the software running on Macs, but you can now run Dexcom Portrait on a browser:

Would any of you Diasend users be willing do a step by step on how to get started with it from a Mac? And, does the usb cable supplied with the Dex suffice for the connection via the Mac for Diasend? I will be very grateful if someone will do this for a comfortable computer user but aging is requiring more basic instructions these days.

My Macbook is aging too, DrBB, and am in a quandary. I can't see going from a 15 inch to a 12 inch but also think 2k is a horrendous price for the 15 inch I want. Decisions, decisions.

I signed up for the "portrait" on Dex, per Manny's url, but must have used a different email than what they have for me so it can take up to 48 hours for them to "verify" me. I look forward to trying this.

Hi Manny, how has the browser access to the Dexcom data? Will the Dexcom show up as a computer drive on the MAC/PC so you can upload a file to Dexcom Portrait with the browser?

UPDATE: I just checked their website. You have to download additional software to sync the data with the Dexcom Portrait Service.

For Diasend you go to their website and set up a personal account and download and install the Mac version of the uploader to your computer. They have videos showing you how the site works and if you click on support at the top of the page there are quick guides and manuals. For Diasend personal you use the device cables so you would use the Dexcom cable to upload. That would be true of anything else you wanted to upload also like a meter.

The first time you upload something you will have to associate all of your devices to your account. You can either enter the serial numbers into your profile or the uploader will ask you for your user name and password if it doesn’t recognize a device.

Once you’ve installed the uploader you can find it again in Applications. That kind of threw me the second time I uploaded–it took me forever to figure out how to launch the uploader again. I keep the uploader in my Dock.

I was underwhelmed with Portait on the Web. Only a fraction of what Studio offers unfortunately.

Since you're apparently familiar with Diasend as well (and thanks for the step-by-step above), does it compare more favorably with Studio?

I finally got Portrait downloaded. Had to use Safari instead of Firefox.
I have barely reviewed it but it seems fairly good to me. You have three different kinds of download options, one being Excel. You can do quite a few different graphs and by time (day, week, month). My brief look at my graphs (had other work to do last night) was that they don't seem sharp on the screen. That could be my vision or the software, not sure which. I look forward to studying it further.
And will check Diasend also. Thanks for those instructions, DianaS.