Who remembers the MiniDisc? What about the Zip disk? These were data storage media that came out in the 1990s and were expected to become the hardware format of choice for both music lovers and computer users. MiniDiscs could record and play the clearer and crisper sounds of a compact disc compared with that of the cassette tape, and the amount of data that could be stored on a single Zip disk was volumes beyond a standard 3.5 floppy.
Unfortunately for the MiniDisc and the Zip disk creators, once the writable CD became available, the advantages they afforded us were not that significant, both in quality and quantity. And when the USB drive and MP3s came on the scene, the MiniDisc and Zip disk were rendered all but obsolete. These technologies came and went without making barely a splash in the data storage marketplace.
Enter InsulogTM. Nobody likes a pessimist, but in my estimation this product will go the way of the Minis and the Zips.
In the explanatory video for the Indiegogo campaign that InsulogTM launched last week, they lay out for the uninitiated, the difficulties involved with a diabetic trying to keep track of his daily insulin intake. Neglecting to write down the time and dosage of the shot can lead to a life threatening situation, as the Israeli company’s founder, Menash Michael, discovered the hard way. The InsulogTM clip-on device logs and stores the relevant data on a smartphone, integrates with health apps and allows the user to transmit the insulin intake history to his healthcare provider. It is compatible with all major insulin pen brands.
This is something that can relatively inexpensively help hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It is based on a patent pending technology, has received tons of encouraging press, and within a week has reached 22% of its crowdfunding goal. So why the negativity?
For one thing, devices that attach to insulin pens to track insulin intake already exist. The InsulCheck® device snaps on the pen, and once it verifies completion of the injection, displays the current time to indicate to the user the amount of time since the last injection. Then there’s Timesulin®, “a timer enabled replacement cap for your insulin pen that tells you how long it’s been since your last insulin injection, “ according to CEO and co-founder John Sjolund. After taking an injection you slide the sleeve/cap onto the pen and the timer begins.
While InsulogTM does so much more than simply serve as an automatic timer it is still not the only nor most advanced device that connects an insulin pen with a smartphone. Companion Medical’s InPenTM, a smart insulin delivery pen, already received FDA approval to use with Lilly’s Humalog and Novo Nordisk’s Novolog, and expects to go to market next year. Since InPenTM comes as a single integrated unit it provides a variety of features that include and go beyond what InsulogTM is capable of offering.
The transformation from a dumb to a smart device is the way of the present. If other insulin pen manufacturers aren’t already following on the heels of Companion Medical, they will be soon. Then there will be no need for a removable device that turns a regular insulin pen to a smart insulin pen, just to provide the same (or fewer) features that are incorporated in a one-piece souped-up insulin pen.
Alas, this isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that a seemingly unique and progressive product is sandwiched in time between a mechanism that underperforms it and a technology that outperforms it.
Whether InsulogTM will be successful in finishing its crowdfunding campaign remains to be seen, but don’t expect it to go much further than that.