Krista Swanson: Tech Mummy



Glucose Monitoring Becomes Cool

I can only imagine how hard it is to be a parent of a child with diabetes. Not only do you have to worry about their health constantly, but you also have to deal with the stigma some kids feel while having to interrupt their school day and activities for blood sugar testing.

To try and make the testing process something children would enjoy, Bayer, who is already a forerunner in the test strip and glucose monitor market, began working with a parent who noticed his son was constantly misplacing his glucose meter, but never lost his Nintendo GameBoy.  Partnering with Nintendo, they were all able to work together to develop a system that would work with children and parents to help manage the disease.

They came up with an interactive solution called ‘DIDGET’.  The DIDGET bundle includes a monitor that has the usual capabilities, as well as a USB port to connect to your PC to download test data. The bonus included in the kit however, is a seriously cool game called Knock 'Em Downs: World's Fair (think Club Penguin at a carnival).  

The system works like this: the child takes their blood sugar as usual. When the meter reading is complete, the child or their grownup can connect the meter into the GameBoy Advance slot in the Nintendo DS or DS Lite.  The way this experience is made extra cool for the child is that they are rewarded for testing their blood sugar levels by getting points! That’s right Moms, testing just became cool!  (You can see a full demo of the system here)

The points that are earned through testing can be redeemed to unlock new game levels, get new mini-games, and purchase items in the game.  My favourite part of this system is that points are awarded to the child for staying within parent or practitioner defined ranges, NOT for reaching specific numbers.  Also, the child can’t get additional points awarded for doing ‘extra’ testing. They get points for up to four tests in 24 hours, but nothing else.

The DS game itself is really fun to play. The premise is that you are travelling the world to complete tasks, mini-games etc. The interface is super cute, easy to learn, and I’m sure I could have spent hours playing it myself.

I love when technology meets health like this! Bayer's NEW DIDGET™ meter is available in Canada, and is free with the purchase of CONTOUR® test strips

Do you have a diabetic child? What do you think of this idea?