Outlier snacks, data and the tyranny of the blank (logbook) page

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08/07/2017

When it comes to data in healthcare, nothing does it like diabetes. Tracking the who/what/where and when of glucose readings, carbs, insulin doses and phases of the moon.

In fact, I've spoken recenlty with companies like GlucoMe and CareCentrix about data and technology and how that’s shifting healthcare. Data, they tell me, can provide immediate, real-time feedback that allows patients and health professionals make treatment decisions.

So imagine my disappointment to learn I had arrived at my annual appointment with Dr. Emily the Endo (I don’t really call her this), only to learn that I Forgot. My. Meter.

Yes, I went to a place called the diabetes center without my glucometer. There was to be no downloading of numbers. And, because I am lazy, I had no old-fashioned paper logbook as a backup.

I could only answer in vague generalities about patterns and couldn’t pinpoint any specific issues. I had even, over the few weeks prior to the appointment carefully made notes regarding my numbers and outlier snacks like the chips and salsa (so worth it) and the donuts (so not worth it) that coworkers brought in.

Meanwhile, Dr. Emily and I discussed the outrageous costs of insulin and Why Is It so High??? (I don't know, she doesn't know). I made an appointment to see one of the nurses in three months and left resolved to be more diligent.

When I got home, I dug out an old unused logbook that came with a meter I haven’t used in years and got tracking. I must admit, in the past week, I’ve looked forward to diligently logging numbers, making adjustments (those patterns again) and feeling accomplished when said adjustments work. It’s also discouraging when they don’t. But, because I pinpoint those problems, I can try harder to resolve the problem. Failing that, I can fax pages over to the nurses at the diabetes center and get feedback.